Psalm 110 (part 6)

Psalm 110  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Psalm 110 portrays the Messiah in the presence of God. Dwelling in God's awesome presence - Moses, Jesus, the believer.

Psalm 110 (part 6).
Do you long for God?! Do you want to be near Him?! Do you have a yearning to be in His presence?! The psalmist expressed this longing: [P] [Psalm 27:4 [P] One thing I have asked from יְהֹוָ֥ה, that I shall [P] seek: that I may [P] dwell in the [P] house of יְהֹוָ֥ה all the days of my life, to [P] behold the beauty of יְהֹוָ֥ה and to meditate in His temple.] Or: [Psalm 63:1–2 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus, I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.] Again in: [Psalm 42:1–2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. my soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?] And yet again in: [Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. He goes on to say: Psalm 73:28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.] I could go on all day; but just one more Psalm: [Psalm 84:1–4 How lovely are Your dwelling places, O יְהֹוָ֥ה of armies! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of יְהֹוָ֥ה; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird also has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Your altars, O יְהֹוָ֥ה of armies, my King and my God. How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You.] They all express a deep longing for God, a desire to be near Him; to be “in His presence”! Do you have that all-consuming desire?! I want to talk about “being in God’s presence”. [P] “Coming into God’s presence” is something that, of relatively recent years, has become quite common to speak about, particularly in the context of a worship service. We quite blandly bandy about the expression “come into God’s presence” – it has become a common, an ordinary thing. And I don’t think that we have a clue what we are talking about!!! We sing “Come into His presence with thanksgiving in your heart and give Him praise ….”. Now, I am not mocking that chorus; it is a great song, alluding to Psalm 100; but, there has developed this notion that when we sing some praise songs, especially if there is a warm atmosphere and a good feel, our hearts are stirred; that we are “in God’s presence”. Particularly in a charismatic or Pentecostal meeting, after the worship time of singing; the pastor will say “now that we are in the presence of God …” and then make an appeal or challenge to the congregation. If the worship time does not go quite so well; there will be disappointment: “we did not reach God’s presence”. I have spent years in Pentecostal churches – after the meeting we would assess whether we had reached God’s presence or not! It is a totally wrong concept of the presence of God! The presence of God has nothing to do with your “feel-good” factor, the warm or emotional atmosphere. Look, I remember the first concert I ever bought a ticket to – it was Don Maclean in the town hall. Look we were all devoted fans, it was a great night, the performance was good – Don had us eating out of his hand. It was a wonderful atmosphere, we all felt good, our hearts were stirred – but it had absolutely nothing to do with the presence of God. God was not part of it at all. It was a secular concert! But he had us all feeling good. We have trivialized the concept of the presence of God. Because one thing the presence of God is: is AWESOME! [P] Again, that is a word that we have trivialized and made common. But there was a man once who knew something of the presence of God – I mean, the real presence of God; I mean, this guy had actually met with God! That is one of the reasons that I find Moses such an intriguing character – he actually met up with יְהֹוָ֥ה! Do you remember the first time he met up with יְהֹוָ֥ה? He wasn’t seeking Him, he was just tending his father-in-law’s sheep in the wilderness; [P] when all of sudden he saw a bush on fire, but it wasn’t being burned up! So, he went to investigate – and יְהֹוָ֥ה spoke to him! An audible voice!: [P] [Exodus 3:4–6 When יְהֹוָ֥ה saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush (יְהֹוָ֥ה was right there in the bush!) and said, “Moses, Moses!” (יְהֹוָ֥ה called him personally, knew him by name – and you are never the same again after you have had יְהֹוָ֥ה speak to you by name! I know!) And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not come near here; (don’t come near יְהֹוָ֥ה!) remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Why? Because יְהֹוָ֥ה was there! Moses was in the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה!) [P] He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was [P] afraid to look at God.] Moses was right in the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה! And he knew it! He was afraid! It was awesome! No happy clappy choruses; but the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה! And it wasn’t the only time. יְהֹוָ֥ה told him to bring His people to this mountain; which, eventually, he did. The people of Israel came to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God! And יְהֹוָ֥ה descended upon it! [P] [Exodus 19:18–21 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because יְהֹוָ֥ה descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder! יְהֹוָ֥ה came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and יְהֹוָ֥ה called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. (יְהֹוָ֥ה came down to the top of the mountain, Moses went up to the top of the mountain; to where יְהֹוָ֥ה was! In the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה! They were both there on the top of the mountain together) Then יְהֹוָ֥ה spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to יְהֹוָ֥ה to gaze, and many of them perish.] It was AWESOME! It was scary! We read about this occasion in the New Testament: [Hebrews 12:18–21 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” [P] And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.”] The presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה is awesome, fearful, frightening! But that was not the only time Moses was in the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה. It is interesting to study all the times Moses met up with יְהֹוָ֥ה. The presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה was awesome, terrifying; but, if you look, you will see something interesting happens! There is a development. Moses spent some time in יְהֹוָ֥ה’s presence. He came back down to the people to find them involved in flagrant idolatry. יְהֹוָ֥ה was angry! He was no longer going to go with the people of Israel on their journey to the Promised Land. To Moses, this was a calamity! He had come to see that the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה was vital! And he interceded with יְהֹוָ֥ה that He might not abandon them; and יְהֹוָ֥ה agreed: [P] [Exodus 33:14–18 And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” [P] Then he said to Him, “If [P] Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. (from fearing יְהֹוָ֥ה’s presence, now he cannot do without it! יְהֹוָ֥ה had already said that His presence would go with them; but Moses needs to make sure! It is vital, essential!) “For how then can it be known that I have found favour in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” יְהֹוָ֥ה said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favour in My sight and I have known you by name.” [P] Then Moses said, “I pray You, [P] show me Your glory!”] From being afraid to look at God, now he wants to see יְהֹוָ֥ה’s glory! The presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה was indeed awesome [P] but it was also wonderful! [P] Moses met continually with יְהֹוָ֥ה in the tent of meeting. That is where He wanted to always be. But there was something else about being in the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה: [Exodus 34:29–30 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai, that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. (with יְהֹוָ֥ה) So, when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.] Being in the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה was transforming! [P] Having been in יְהֹוָ֥ה’s presence, he became like Him! Now it was scary to be in Moses’ presence! There was that glory about him from him being in יְהֹוָ֥ה’s presence. It rubs off! Paul says the same thing, referring to this glory that was on Moses face: [2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.] John speaks of the same transforming effect of the presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה: [1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, (He appears and we are in His presence) we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.] With unveiled face. Moses knew the nearness of יְהֹוָ֥ה! [P] [Exodus 33:11 Thus יְהֹוָ֥ה used to speak to Moses [P] face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.] This is what יְהֹוָ֥ה Himself testified about Moses: [Numbers 12:6–8 He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, יְהֹוָ֥ה, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. “Not so, [P] with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and [P] he beholds the form of יְהֹוָ֥ה. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?”] Moses saw the form of יְהֹוָ֥ה! Was right there in His presence! Awesome! Wonderful! Transforming! But it was the same with others who had revelations of God’s presence: Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah – they were all overcome, physically weakened by the awesome presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה! These were godly men, but they could not stand the presence of God. And just in case you think that it was just an Old Testament thing; consider the disciple John. John was a believer – he speaks more about “believing” than any other. He was a disciple, in the inner circle; he was the disciple who Jesus loved, who rested his head on His bosom – closer than any other. He had revelation – he saw Jesus on the mountain, transfigured in His glory; then he had a vision of God’s presence: [P] [Revelation 1:17 When I saw Him, [P] I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,] He was as a dead man, afraid! This is not some worm cosy atmosphere after singing some songs with fine music. [P] The presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה is AWESOME! Well, that is a long introduction, but I have belaboured the point: the awesomeness of being in יְהֹוָ֥ה’s presence; because of the over-familiarity and misconception that has pervaded current Christianity. We need this understanding, this realignment of our conception of the presence of God, before we can appreciate what the New Testament writers understood of Psalm 110:1 [P]. We have seen that Jesus, Himself, saw that this verse indicated that the Messiah was more than merely the son of David [P] – He is, in fact, God! Then we saw that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews saw that this verse indicated that the Messiah had completed the work that He was given to do [P] – and that work was the cross, leaving heaven’s glory and dying a criminal’s death. Having descended to earth, the Messiah ascended to heaven [P] – this was also seen to be prophesied in this verse. Jesus, Himself, saw that it prophesied יְהֹוָ֥ה’s vindication of His Messiah [P]. And that vindication was by Him being exalted [P] to the place of highest honour, status and authority. But this verse also indicated that Jesus, the Messiah, is to be in the very presence of יְהֹוָ֥ה Himself! [P] All this was seen to be contained in this verse which states: [P] [Psalm 110:1 יְהֹוָ֥ה says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”] So יְהֹוָ֥ה is commanding the Messiah to sit at His right hand [P] – Yes, Jesus has ascended into heaven, exalted to this place of highest status; but He is to “sit down” – this is not just figurative language. “Sit down” means to sit down! Like there are two chairs, like this .… well thrones, actually; יְהֹוָ֥ה is sitting on one, here; and on the right-hand side of Him there is another. And He tells the Messiah to sit on it. יהוה is on this one, Jesus on this one. יהוה is here; Jesus is here! Of course, to “sit at My right hand” is to be right next to יהוה! Jesus is right where יהוה is – literally. In יהוה’s presence! In that awesome presence of יהוה! That is what the New Testament writers saw implied in this verse. Peter wrote in: [P] [1 Peter 3:22 Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God, [P] (there is the reference to Psalm 110:1) having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.] The angels, authorities and powers being subject to Jesus, shows His exaltation (we saw that last time); but, [P]having gone into heaven” indicates that He has gone where יהוה is. Where is יהוה? In heaven! Where is Jesus? In heaven! Jesus is exactly where יהוה is! Jesus is in יהוה’s presence! Paul wrote in: [P] [Colossians 3:1–3 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, [P] (this is where Christ “is”, like now, where?) seated at the right hand of God. [P] (There is the reference to Psalm 110 again. That is where Jesus is now, sitting right next to יהוה! In His actual presence – like, in heaven, “above”!) Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.] Christ is “in God” – right where God is – in His presence. Jesus dwells in the presence of God Himself. In: [P] [1 Thessalonians 1:3 talks about our: steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ [P] in the presence of our God and Father,] And in [P] [Hebrews 9:24 it states: For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear [P] in the presence of God for us;] Jesus Christ is in the awesome presence of God! This truth was contained in prophecy in the Old Testament. Speaking of יהוה’s Messianic King in psalm 21, it says: [P] [Psalm 21:6 For You make Him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness [P] in Your presence.] Moses found the presence of יהוה terrifying; yet it is not this way for Jesus – it is His natural environment! He is with His Father! It is the place where He most loves to be! For Him the presence of יהוה is a place of joy and gladness! Look, my dad was senior master at the school I went to; it was his job to oversee discipline. He administered the cane – that’s what it was in my day. But he didn’t have use the cane in order to instil fear into wayward schoolboys. There were those who were afraid of Mr. Hawkins! But I wasn’t; well, unless I had misbehaved! – he was my dad! I wasn’t scared to be living in the same house where he dwelt! The presence of יהוה is where Jesus belongs, that is His home! The place He most loves to be – a place of joy, of pleasure. In one of my most favourite Psalms it says: [P] [Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; [P] In Your presence is fullness of joy; [P] In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. ] Now, David is writing: the “me” refers to him, to David. We like to take the Psalms personally and apply them to ourselves; “me” could refer to “me”, Paul. But, in the previous verse it says: [Psalm 16:10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.] Both Peter and Paul pointed out that David did die and that the Psalm was actually talking, not about David, but about the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, and His resurrection. Here is Peter quoting this verse on the day of Pentecost: [Acts 2:28–31 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’ “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.] So, Psalm 16:11 is speaking about Jesus! “You will make known to Me the path of life” that is speaking of Jesus rising from the dead. “In Your presence is fullness of joy” – is speaking of Jesus being in יהוה’s presence. He is at יהוה’s right hand. He is full of joy! He has everlasting pleasure just being there! Jesus is in the awesome, glorious, majestic, holy presence of יהוה Himself! That awesome presence is not scary; rather, it is the place of greatest joy, pleasure, fulfilment and delight for Jesus. This is what both Peter and Paul saw prophesied in this passage in 1 Peter 3:22 and in Col 3:1. But I have a confession to make …. that passage in Colossians 3:1 I took it out of context! Yes, the passage does state that Jesus is in the presence of God; but that is not the main point of what Paul is saying there. The focus of the letter at this point is on “YOU” – The word “you” occurs 3x in 2:20; “you” or “your” 5x in 3:1-4. So, let’s read the verse in context: [Colossians 2:20–3:4 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” ….. [P] Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep setting your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. [P] For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [P] When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.] Here is the whole passage on one screen; [P] and from what I have underlined, you can see that the focus is on “you” – that is the Colossian believers. It is written to believers, to us! It is not primarily speaking about Jesus. So, let’s see what the Scripture has to say to us. First there are two things that have already happened. [P] They took place in the past; they are done deals. Firstly, it says “you died[P] – it happened back in the past, a oncer, – when Christ died you died. You died “with Christ”. Because we died the world has no effect on us, we don’t submit to its man-made rules. But not only “you died”; it also says “you have been raised[P] – again, it indicates that it is something that happened once, back in the past, it’s done. Although we died, we aren’t dead because we were raised – again, it is “with Christ”. Jesus died and rose again, you died and rose again. Well, that is the way it is supposed to be – do you notice that before both those statements there is an “if”? [P] All that these verses say is conditional – it is “if” you are in Christ. If you are in Christ, then what happened to Christ happened to you. Remember the old Watchman Nee illustration of the banknote in the book. I put $20 in my Bible – the note is in the Bible. So, where the Bible is, there the note is also. If my Bible is on the pulpit, the $20 is on the pulpit. If the Bible falls in the river, the $20 is in the river; if I pull the Bible out of the river, I also pull the $20 out. That is how it is: Jesus died, “IF” you are in Him, you also died. Jesus rose again; “IF” you are in Him, you rose again. That is why there is the “if”s – it is all contingent on us being in Christ. But Paul takes it further …. Not only did Jesus die and rise again but He is seated at God’s right hand, in יהוה’s awesome presence! So, “IF” we are in Christ, …… where are we? Jesus is God’s presence, so too, we are in God’s presence! Incredible! But that is what these verses say! It is not just here; it says in [Ephesians 2:6 that God has raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in (that is with God, in His presence!) the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,] – This is not future; the tense indicates that it has already happened! But, I don’t know about you, but it don’t much seem to me that I’m seated with Him in the heavenly places. It seems to me like I am very much here on earth – I mean there is the lawn to mow, the tea to get, work to go to, bills to pay, the bike to fix – the list just goes on and on. That is why there are two commands: [P] these are things that we have to continually keep doing. The first is “keep seeking[P] – you have to keep desiring and reaching out to obtain, this is something you have set your whole purposes on obtaining. There is something of great value and you set out to get it, and don’t let up until you do. The second is “keep setting your mind on[P] – the thing is that we are liable to get distracted; so we have to make the deliberate intention to fix our mind on this. What is that we are to keep seeking and keep setting our mind on? The “things above”! [P] This world presses in! This world is so much with us! We can easily make the mistake that this is what it is all about, that this is where our life is. But no! This leads to two thing that are [P] – like, I mean now! Present! This is not future! This is now, the way things are right now, if you are “in Christ”. Firstly, it says, that your “life is hidden in God with Christ[P] – actually it “has been hidden” – it happened in the past but remains in that state or condition right through to the present. Where is your life? “in God”!! That is what it says! I don’t know how people can read this book without getting excited or amazed! It says some absolutely astounding things! Did you read that?! Your life is in God! Like, right in His presence! Yes, in that awesome presence of יהוה! Jesus is in יהוה’s presence, you are “in Christ”, so, your life is in יהוה’s presence! In heavenly places, in the awesome presence of יהוה! But people will look at you and say, “You are deluded, you are in a hall in Tedder ave, you live in Christchurch, I can see you! Your life is right here mate, not in heaven!” But notice that it says your life is “hidden in God” – you can’t see something that is hidden. Yes, that is where you real life really is, because it is in Christ, and where Christ is there you are also: “hidden in God with Christ”. Because the second thing that is, is: “Christ is our life[P] – like right now! Jesus asked His Father: [John 17:21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.] Paul said it: [Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ] And again [Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;] We may seem very much in this world; but Christ is our life, our life is in God with Him; we are seated in heavenly places now! It may seem very other, that is why we must keep seeking the things above, keep setting our minds on things above – because that is the true reality, not that which is in our face here on earth. Don’t let clamour of this world fool you into being distracted by it; thinking that this is where your life is. Jesus is at the right-hand of God right now, in the awesome presence of יהוה! And that is where our life is now hidden. But there is something that is future. [P] You can’t see what is hidden – but, like hide-and-seek, where the one who hides eventually reveals where he is; that which is hidden will be revealed! That is the one thing that is future: Christ will be revealed in glory and we who lives are actually in Him, hidden in God with Him, “will be revealed with Him”. [P] Hallelujah! What is now hidden will be revealed! What we cannot see, will be seen – we will see יהוה face-to-face: [P] [1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; (just like Moses!) now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.] We will see יהוה in His glory! Hallelujah! [Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!] Did you read that?! See God! And seeing Him we will be transformed into His likeness: [P] [1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, [P] we will be like Him, because [P] we will see Him just as He is.] We will see Him in all His glory! Hallelujah! [P] [Jude 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to [P] make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, ] Right in the presence of יהוה in all His glory. The awesome presence of יהוה [P] – that is where Christ now is! That is what Psalm 110:1 revealed. And that is where those who are in Christ Jesus, those who have died and been raised with Him now are. And that is our hope: of being revealed with Him in that glory! The awesome presence of יהוה that is where Jesus is in glory, “where I am” and His desire is that we be there with Him: [P] [John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, [P] be with Me (with Him, in His presence) where I am, (in glory) so [P] that they may see My glory (no longer hidden but revealed) which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.] Indeed, [P] Christ is in you, the hope of glory! The glory of יהוה’s awesome presence, where Jesus now dwells and where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore! [P]
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