God's Song: God IS Always Speaking

Fall 2019: God's Song Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  20:29
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Have you ever noticed, in your own lives, how music plays an important role? I mean, for me, there have been moments in my life when certain songs have held very special meaning for the particular situation for which I am journeying through. For example, there was a time in my life when I began discovering who I truly was and what I truly wanted out of my life and during that time, I played one particular song over and over and over…so much so that my family got sick of hearing it. That song was “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi. At another time in my life, the song “Gotta Be Somebody” by Nickelback was a song that I listened to over and over again. One song will forever hold a special place in my heart is “Far Away” and that is another Nickelback song, anyone seeing a trend here? Don’t get me wrong, there are “church” songs in my life that hold a special meaning as well, like “ Trust and Obey”, “In the Garden”, “Just as I Am”, “The Holly and the Ivy”, and “Here I Am” and these are just a few. The point is that music holds special meaning in my life and connects me to events or situations that have happened in my life to make me who I am. I would venture a guess that if I asked each of you to name one song that holds a special meaning, each of you could name at least one as well. You see, it was God’s plan and purpose for us to sing and dance and praise through music.
Today, we begin a four week journey through 4 particular songs that many of us don’t necessarily think of as songs. But, they are God’s songs for God’s people. While I don’t believe that these are the only ways that we praise and worship God, I do believe that these four Psalms speak about situations for the writers that have made them meaningful throughout the ages. So, over the next four weeks, we will look at Psalm 19, 100, 103, and 127. This is a very, very small sample of the songs that God has placed into the writers’ hearts to give us. In fact, there are 150 Psalms in our Bibles and these are not the only Psalms that have been written because as we discover more of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we are realizing that many more people recorded words that were important to them and spoke about situations in the writer’s life.

An Introduction to the Psalms

So, here’s what I want us to do this morning…if you have a Bible with you, open it to as close to the middle as you can…what is there? If you are truly at the middle of your Bible, you should find yourself somewhere near or in Psalm 118. There’s a reason that those who chose the scripture to put in the Bible put the Psalms at the center. Of the 150 Psalms, there are 59 Psalms that speak about going through a tough time in our lives and how God has helped the writer to overcome or more likely, these 59 Psalms are prayers of anguish and lament to God about the situation they find themselves within. There are 41 Psalms of Praise, giving thanks and glory to God for all the things in the writer’s life. There are 17 actual hymns, 10 that relate to the royalty of God, 9 giving us wisdom and advice, 8 that speak specifically of thanks, and 6 that talk about trusting God. And yes, before you start going back in your mind, that is all 150.
The book of Psalms has been divided into 5 separate books, if you will. These are more like divisions based upon what the Psalms speak about. We believe that the vast majority of the Psalms have been written by David or Solomon. However, we are discovering that what we once believed is not always the case. As with life, some of the Psalms attributed to these two men were more than likely written by someone else. The authors of these songs are not as important as the fact that the words written hold a special place in the hearts and minds of those who trust in God.

A Little Trivia...

What is the most famous of all Psalms?

Psalm 23

What is the longest Psalm?

Psalm 119

What is the shortest Psalm?

Psalm 117 NIV
Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.

A Question to Start Us Off...

Now that we have a few ideas about what the Psalms are and where to find them, let’s turn to Psalm 19 and what it holds for us today…so turn there and reread verses 7 to 14 for a moment…what words stand out to you in those verses?
For me, and I am using the New Living Translation here, are in verse 10...
Psalm 19:10 NLT
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
These words speak to my heart. Now, what the Psalmist happens to be writing about in these words follows three verses talking about the commandments, which speak about how we are to be in relationship with God and with others. As we have talked about many times before, the commandments are not options but God’s rules about living. So here, the Psalmist reflects on what those words mean to him. I like these words because, for many including some of us, gold is a precious commodity. Gold also holds a vision and a purpose in our minds. Gold is like the most precious of all metals. At one point in our country’s history, gold also backed the value of our money. Gold has been traded throughout history for goods and services. It has been made into jewelry and it has been used as a means to provide wealth. When we speak of gold, most people have all of these things in mind in an instant.
The other piece that the writer uses to reflect what value the commandments have in our lives is something that was almost as precious at the time this Psalm was written, that being honey. With all of our advancements in science and medicine and the many things that we have made in today’s age to fight aging, illness, disease, and the like, I find it interesting that honey has been found to be one of the purest substances in the world. I have also heard it compared to gold. Funny, or maybe not, how both things the writer uses to describe the commandments have the same color but maybe not. In the recent past, we have heard how much value honey has for our bodies and it goes without saying that it is still the best sweetener for anything.
Again, there is probably no wondering why, these two substances, gold and honey have so much in common with the laws of God. So, why do we think that the writer of this Psalm may have used these two substances to describe what is right and good to be doing in our lives? The answer lies in the very next verse...
Psalm 19:11 NLT
They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
The Psalmist recognizes how valuable these laws are to our lives. If nothing else, hear these words this morning…They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
We are told throughout the Bible that our lives are about relationships. From the very beginning, God made us to be in relationship with one another. God saw that Adam needed a helper, someone who could stand beside him in all things and so God made Eve so that they, not just Adam, could walk beside one another through all of life’s challenges. God gave us relationship and blessed it. What did we do with it, we destroyed it? So, God gave us commandments to live by. What did we do with those? We destroy them every single day.
This is why we confess our sins each Sunday. There is not a day that goes by that I do not do something for which I need to stop and ask God for forgiveness for. I try but no matter how hard I try, I get angry, mostly behind the wheel of the car but I still destroy the relationship I have with others on the road. Now, I am not saying that we should not get angry or frustrated but what I am saying echoes what the Psalmist says...
Psalm 19:12 CEB
But can anyone know what they’ve accidentally done wrong? Clear me of any unknown sin
I do things and I do my best to stay in right relationship with God and others but I know there are things that I do naturally, without thinking, that violate one of the rules that God has given me to live by. By stating and admitting that I do not know all of the things that I do to violate those laws, I recognize that I am not perfect. By no stretch of the imagination am I anywhere close to being a savior. We have one of those already and I am not sure I could even come close to being like him. No one can. Let me say that again, NO ONE CAN even come close to being perfect.
Amid all of this though is a word of caution…while we cannot be perfect, it also does not give us license to do whatever we want whenever we want. We must all do our best not to do things deliberately either. Notice what the Psalmist says...
Psalm 19:13 The Message
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
We are to be as blameless as we can be as damaged and imperfect creations. God does not desire for us to be perfect and that’s the good news but we also must be mindful of the fact that we cannot go off willy nilly either.
Here’s the thing…the title of my sermon today is God is Still Speaking. When we look back over our lives, I believe that we will recognize times, specific times, when the words of a song have had an influence on our lives. I also believe that if we look hard enough that we will recognize how God speaks to us. For me, God speaks in the words of Psalms. In particular, this Psalm. It is a Psalm of wisdom. It gives us instructions. It shows us specifically how the writer feels about God’s commands. It instructs us on how we should be living in today’s world even though it was written thousands of years ago. It gives us comfort in knowing that we do not struggle alone, there are others who have struggled to hear God and see God in our lives.

The Final Question of Psalm 19

This brings us to the ultimate question of wisdom from this Psalm…where do you see God today? When I ask that question here on a Sunday morning, it often takes several moments before someone answers. Now, I am sure some of that is the thought that where we have seen God in our lives does not feel important or significant enough to share. But here’s the thing…I would bet, that if you really looked in your heart, those moments, no matter how small or insignificant you may feel they are, are moments when God has spoken into your heart. You see, God has created so many things for us to enjoy and I think many, if not all, people today take for granted that what we have isn’t really our own but has come from the one who granted for us to have them.
Think about it this way…if you have children or grandchildren, do you not want to share all the cute little stories about what they say and do with your friends? That’s God prompting you to recognize what has been given. Or, if you have seen someone lifting another up or out of oppression. Do you not want to tell the world that you saw something good happen to a friend, relative, or acquaintance? That’s God speaking into your heart to share the works that others are doing. How about how you have seen hope and love growing amongst us here? Not all of us will see these things but for those of us who have, can’t you see God working in our lives right here? There is so much good happening…our little family has raised $5,000 for others, not for our building, not for our fuel bill, not for our employees, NO, we raised $5,000 to help others!!! That my friends is God speaking into our hearts!!!

God IS Still Speaking

God is still speaking but we need to stop closing off our hearts and just as importantly, we need to stop looking at all the negative in the world so that we can be open for God’s voice. If we don’t, no one else will hear the good things we can do for others.
Let us pray…
Psalm 19:14 NLT
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
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