July 6, 2014 FULL OF GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE, Blog #15 Psalm 33
Thank you for sending me to the General Assembly of the PCA which met in Houston, Texas two weeks ago. One of the first people I met there was Pastor Larry Roff, longtime organist of the assembly. He is a man who frequently goes to Ukraine on mission trips and has been very helpful in our ministry there. I thanked him for the fact that he had gone to Ukraine this last April, right during the trouble they were having with Russian military interference in their land.
While Larry was telling me about his trip he began to weep about how much he loved those people and wanted to help in their distress. I have to confess that I was weeping with him as he spoke because those people are very dear to both of us.
As the assembly went to work on various issues, I could not forget Larry’s tears. To me his tears symbolized the tender love of God described in Psalm 33. Three times in this Psalm God’s love is called his “unfailing love” vss 5, 18 and 22. (ESV steadfast love). This amazing love of God is the means by which He cares for us, by which he rules us, directing our lives and the life of the entire world. You see, Larry really couldn’t help himself. Caught up as he was himself in the love of God he had to love our dear friends in Ukraine, weeping over them as the Savior would have wept: THEME >>>
GOD ALWAYS RULES IN LOVE OVER ALL HIS CREATURES AND ALL THEIR ACTIONS
You may recognize my quotation from Shorter Catech 11. (Note bulletin) Catechism is worth memorizing – Grand statement of God’s absolute Sovereignty over all things.But also important to see that even catechisms can be improved by adding Biblical elements – like the tender Love of God. I want you to agree with me that I have improved this catechism by adding this Biblical insight. (John Piper adding to #1 “Chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.” Then I want you to feel free to do the same thing as you study and teach these grand truths to your children and each other. Main point of this Psalm is that GOD RULES US LOVINGLY.
Psalm is describing the RULE of God over all things weaving this statement of his “UNFAILING LOVE, STEADFAST LOVE” into this description of his RULE 3 times v 5, 18 & 22. This is no exception to the way the Bible speaks of God’s rule. Not an exception, but a rule. God’s sovereign rule over us and all things is woven so tightly into his love that the two can hardly be distinguished. How we should rejoice in this loving rule of God surrounding us, engulfing us, PROPELLING US DOWN THE PATHWAY OF LIFE. NAOMI JOYCE –launched her last night at her graduation party. God is launching all of you to serve him in your callings every day.
Our Muslim friends do not have this view of God. The Koran says practically nothing about Allah loving anyone or anything. His rule over his people is arbitrary, unpredictable, fatalistic. It is a rule that sends them on JIHAD, even hating each other – as between Sunni’s and Shias today. What an opportunity we have to show them and the whole world this God (holding up Bible), helping them come to Him. True of all false religions – Christ is our only refuge. Three ways God helps us understand this:
I. GOD COMMANDS US TO CELEBRATE HIS LOVING RULE v 1-9, Not an option, a COMMAND.
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous!”- next 3 verses fairly exploding with joy, celebrative joy Concluding v 3 “play skillfully and SHOUT FOR JOY!”
“Shout” is same word God commanded Joshua to use when they marched around Jericho and the walls fell down.
That Shout was a celebration of twin wonders:
GOD’S SOVEREIGN RULE OVER HIS ENEMIES, destruction of Jericho
GOD’S SOVEREIGN LOVE FOR HIS BELOVED PEOPLE, gift of Canaan
You are not celebrating a fantasy, but a reality, a basic reality of the universe GOD LOVES HIS OWN CHOSEN PEOPLE AND HE DESPISES THOSE WHO DESPISE HIM Not something to be embarrassed about!!
SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE!! Shout for joy! CELEBRATE!!
IllUs: Few days ago I had been studying 3rd vs of text “New Song”,
Craigie’s remark about “New” in “new song” “‘new “ designates…the ever-new freshness of God in his victorious kingship.
“God is not boring! His sovereign rule is not boring “fresh, bright, sparkling”
God is on the march – Jerichos are falling, YOU Israelites are possessing the land! Riding Bike in a fresh, bright sparkling morning – God personally put every drop of dew on the grass, Makes all the grass turn green and all the flowers to bloom
EMPOWERS LARRY ROFF TO LOVE UKRAINIANS OUT OF JERICHO INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. GOD WITH ME ON MY BIKE PREACHING TO ME,
- “Now don’t go home and start belly-aching again!”
- There is a sparkling freshness to everything God is doing – new babies being born,
- Granddaughter baptized in Houston, great granddaughter born in Chicago, Lydia Tuesday night
- Whole new epoch’s of life opening up to us, because the future is filled with GOD!
- Life is filled with exciting NEW WONDERS OF GOD the King at work, leading us into tomorrow.
WE STAND IN AWESTRUCK WORSHIP, THANKING, PRAISING, SHOUTING FOR JOY, CELEBRATING
II. GOD IS DRAWING US INTO HIS ETERNAL PLAN 10-19 עֵצָה= counsel, advice, plan. His rule is going somewhere. There is direction in his plan (read 10-11) Dynamic forward movement:
Bob Dylan: He has plans of his own when he sets up is throne! He has already set it up.
PLAN ARRIVES AT LAST IN HEAVEN, REV. 21-22, ON OUR WAY BUT NOT THERE YET.
4TH OF JULY AT BANDOWSKI’S – BEAUTIFUL, BUT NOT HEAVEN YET DOG WITH ARTHRITIS
ME NOT QUITE THE SAME ON VOLLEY-BALL COURT, HARD TIME SPIKING BALL
BUT WE ARE ON OUR WAY THROUGH THE COVENANT LOVE OF GOD
NAME OF THIS LOVE: COVENANT LOVE – Outline in bulletin moving toward fulfillment of COVENANT COVENANT LOVE (V 18) is KEY in God’s plan,
God found Adam/Eve hiding in the garden, scolded them, BUT CREATED “HOPE” IN THEM GOD told them that the “seed” of Eve would crush the head of Satan, restore mankind. So God DREW mankind into his plan EMBRACING THEM IN HIS COVENANT LOVE. THIS COVENANTAL LOVE was God’s principal instrument to rule them GOD held them by the heart! He captured their affections. GOD enabled them to love Him as he loved them GOD LOVED THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES, ESTABLISHING THE PATTERN OF SALVATION. SO, THROUGHOUT HISTORY:
- COVENANT in the garden with Adam/Eve, Then with Noah, with Abraham
- COVENANT Expanded in David Ps. 89:1-4, Isaiah, Daniel
- COVENANT Fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ, DELEGATED BY THE FATHER – LORD OF ALL
HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS TO COVER OUR SIN:
HIS BODILY RESURRECTION FROM THE GRAVE TO GIVE US NEW LIFE
HIS ASCENSION TO THE THRONE TO RULE OVER US IN COVENANTAL LOVE
INTERPRETATION FOR TODAY: HE SELECTS YOU ONE AT A TIME TO BUILD HIS TEMPLE: Acts 2- Rev 22
Not just Naomi, EACH OF YOU, YOUNG AND OLD. GOD’S BUILDING PROJECT UNDER WAY RIGHT NOW – VAST, ALL ENCOMPASSING NEW CREATION.
- As Israel was commissioned to build the kingdom through conquest of Canaan, Jericho first
- So the church today is commissioned to build the kingdom throughout the world
Lorraine and me called to build a church and a school in Huntsville Alabama Then to go to Ukraine to help them build a denomination, Then to be a small part of Trinity… GOD IS DRAWING EACH OF YOU >>>>>YOU, YOU AND YOU.
III. GOD IS LIFTING US INTO THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE, v 20-22 HOPE used twice in these verses in anticipation of RESURRECTION/ASCENSION.
ENTHRONEMENT OF JESUS OF NAZARETH
WHO PERFECTLY EXEMPLIFIED THE COVENANT LOVE OF GOD
AND IS CONQUERING THE WORLD THROUGH THAT COVENANT LOVE
When I challenge you to accept his call to be a builder alongside God, I am challenging you to fill your heart with his RESURRECTION/ASCENSION GLORY –
So Peter at Pentecost – So Paul after Damascus Road
They were marching around Jericho, shouting the praises of God So, you and I seeking to follow our Savior in the love and grace he gave so freely.
Illus: Nuremberg Trial, Pastor Henry Gerecke from St. Louis, asked by Army to serve as chaplain to the criminals on trial. American army showed wonderful compassion for those men simply by providing Gerecke as Chaplain. He held chapel for them nearly every day and then after they had been condemned to die, he was with them every day, visiting them in their cells, praying with them and answering their questions. “Wilhelm Keitel was especially interested in certain Bible portions and certain hymns which spoke of the love of God in the REDEEMING BLOOD OF CHRIST. (page 253).” He was one of three of them including Ribbentrop and Sauckel who professed faith in Christ and took communion with Gerecke.
Gerecke was a deeply humble man. But in a sense, he was in the Jericho tradition, marching around the 3rd Reich, shouting the praises of our Lord Jesus Christ, bringing down the walls of resistance. BABYLON WAS FALLILNG. CONCLUSION Just before the PCA adjourned I found Larry Roff in the hallway and thanked him for his tears. They were eloquent evidence to me of GOD’S LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE. God was moving Larry’s heart to love our dear friends in Ukraine. That kind of love is what moves the kingdom of God toward the coming of Christ, toward the final victory of Jesus Christ over all his and our enemies. It is powerful evidence that God is at work in this world drawing sinners into the fold and building saints into a glorious temple. When he gets the last brick for that temple, He will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and we will be forever with the Lord.
OUR LORD WILL HAVE CONQUERED US ALL BY HIS AMAZING LOVE