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For These Reasons, Lord, We Thank You! (Part One), Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2021 7:05 am

For These Reasons, Lord, We Thank You! (Part One), Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Today on Insight for Living, from Chuck Swindoll. God is omni-righteous. He's never wrong. He's never wicked.

He's never deceitful. He never leads us in the wrong direction. We're never mistaken for following His will, because He is righteous. And even when wrong occurs, it won't stay wrong because He is righteous.

And He will bring about right even out of wrong. When we study the character of God, when we encounter His attributes, as described in the Bible, our natural expression is one of wonder, praise, and thanksgiving. We're glad you've decided to join us, because we're setting aside the entire week to address this time-sensitive subject, and that is giving thanks. Before Christmas arrives, we have thanksgiving to enjoy.

Not just enjoy, but observe. I want us to do that for two consecutive Sundays. I want us to spend time thinking about why there is thanksgiving, which may surprise you.

When it began, what it was about, and how it affects every day of our lives, not just the fourth Thursday of the month of November. We're going to be looking at the same psalm together, Psalm 139, which is fast becoming, I believe, my favorite of all the psalms, and you'll see why as we get into it together. We'll look at the first half today, and then we'll look over the magnificent latter half of it next Lord's Day as we express to the Lord why we are thankful. And again, it may surprise you, the emphasis of the psalm.

Located, if you will, in your Bibles, I'm reading from the New Living Translation, Psalm 139, 1-12, for the choir director, a psalm of David. O Lord, you have examined my heart. You know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts, even from far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do. You know what I'm going to say, even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and you follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand. I can never escape from your spirit. I can never get away from your presence. If I go up to heaven, the Hebrew says simply, you. If I go down to the grave, you. If I ride the wings of the dawn, if I dwell by the farmost part of the sea, even there your hand will guide me.

Your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night, but even in darkness, I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To search the Scriptures with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled, For These Reasons Lord, We Thank You. Oh, Thanksgiving, I just absolutely love it. Not so much because it's a holiday, but because it has the right name and because of what it represents. Never thought about when it got started. Never realized it really is an American holiday with American roots because of an American president who realized the need for it. In the most unusual time, right in the middle of the war between the states, 1863. Can you imagine a United States president writing words like this in a proclamation to begin Thanksgiving as a day to be observed as a holiday in our nation?

Listen to Lincoln's words. We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers and wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown, but we have forgotten God. We have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own, intoxicated with unbroken success. We have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us. Therefore, it has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.

He went on to say even more than that, but those words need to burn into our minds. That is the reason for Thanksgiving, not simply to name the things we have received, not to be preoccupied with the gifts, though they have been many, and because of His grace, they have been constant, but to be thankful because of our God, and to remember Him, to reverently and gratefully and solemnly acknowledge the One who is above us and about us and beyond us. Because His words are my sentiments exactly, to solemnly and reverently and gratefully acknowledge God, I've decided to deliver two messages that are not really your basic Thanksgiving-type messages. These are theology messages, and I say it without apology. Theology is the study of God. When you study theology, you acknowledge the significance of God, so it's observing and extolling the giver more than the gifts.

It is looking beyond what we have and who we are and pausing to recognize and acknowledge Him. I don't know of a passage of scripture that does that any better than Psalm 139, and I'm going to take it apart and hopefully put it back together so that it makes even better sense for all of us. So as I set the table for this scriptural feast we will enjoy, let's look at five things that seem to stand out even before we get into the details of the Psalm itself. First, look at the superscription of the Psalm. Do you know that it is inspired just as the verses of the Psalm?

What's the superscription? Well, it is what appears just above or just below the title, Psalm 139. Look in your Bible. The Hebrew says, for the one directing, for the one directing, the ones who translated the Bible for us have added the choir director. No doubt that's what's implied, for in David's day there were choirs, there were even paid choir singers, choir members. So this is dedicated to one of the choir directors, not named, and also we are told the one who composed this Psalm, he's identifying himself simply in the original of David. So this is a Psalm from David's pen. We don't know when he wrote it, we don't know why he wrote it, we only know that he wrote it. Now because it is a Psalm, secondly, we need to think of it as a hymn.

It's a song. In fact, the ancient hymnals were known as Psalters, and the early churches sang from the Psalter. They sang the Psalms. So this is a Psalm, a hymn, and I would say thirdly, it is a hymn that has stanzas. Look at how many verses are in this Psalm. When David wrote it, he didn't number the verses, they've been numbered for us later in time, but originally David did write the stanzas. Notice there are 24 verses. Divided equally, each stanza has six verses. Each stanza has a theme, which is often true in a hymn we sing. Now fourth, if you look at this closer, you will see the hymn is a prayer. How do we know that?

Look at the opening words. O Lord, you have examined my heart. A little later, we read in verse 17, How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. Verse 19, O God, if only you would destroy the wicked.

Verse 21, O Lord, shouldn't I despise those who oppose you? And finally, verse 23, search me, O God. All the way through the Psalm, David is preoccupied with the Lord.

O Lord, O God. Five specific references, and there's another one thrown in a little later toward the end of a verse, but you can see from these statements that it is a prayer. You, me, your, mine, are all the way through the Psalm. So David and God, on personal speaking terms, of course, there's a dialogue going on from earth to heaven, from a man to his God, from the psalmist to the Lord himself. David is thankful, it seems, for four things about the Lord. I get these from reading the stanzas. Look closer now.

Lord, I'm thankful you know everything about me. That's in verses one through six. This is called, in the theological world, the omniscience of God. Omniscience. Say that word with me. Omniscience. Do it again, some of you are a little scared of it, okay?

Let's do it again. Omniscience. It means God knows everything. He doesn't learn, he's never surprised, never shocked, never taken off guard. He knows it all, past, present, future.

Everything. Verses one through six focus on his omniscience. When you get to verse seven, look now, I can never escape from your spirit, I can never get away from your presence, and then he names several conditions.

If I go to heaven, if I go to the grave, if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, what's he talking about? God's omnipresence. Okay, here we go. Let's say it together. Omnipresence. So we have first what? His omniscience.

Say it with me. Omniscience. And secondly, we have his omnipresence. So he is everywhere at the same time. He is no more here in our church meeting than he is on the streets or any street of any place in any village or any city here or anywhere around the world. Any place or space in earth or heaven, under the earth, in the seas, around the earth, in the heavenlies, he is everywhere at the same time and at all times. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. You never awaken him. You never inform him since he already knows everything and he is around us at all times.

That will change your life if you focus on it long enough. You will never, ever be away from his presence. You cannot escape omnipresence. Now when we get to verse 13, oh this is a fabulous part.

I'm saving this for next time. You made all the delicate inner parts of my body. You knit me together in my mother's womb. Verses 13 through 17 take us, of all places, into the most intimate place, the womb of the mother, as the baby is being formed.

This little embryo becomes a fetus, becomes ultimately the baby at birth. Living from the time of conception on, for God watches over every part of it and he makes certain that each one of us is made a certain way. Uniquely, there are no two of us. You and you alone are the only you who will ever be made distinctly and specifically by God and he has that ability to do so because he is, here we go, omnipotent.

I'll give you a moment to work on that. Omnipotent. Say it with me. Omnipotent. All powerful.

All powerful. He's never frustrated. Never comes up against something he can't handle.

Never knows an obstacle. Never encounters something that is beyond him. Not only is he not surprised because he's omniscient, not only is he there because he's omnipresent, he's able to take care of whatever it is, should that be his will to take care of it then or later, because he is omnipotent. Omnipotent. Now when you get to this fourth section, he gets into the details of life, some of the things that have to do with the wicked and the fact that the wicked go on and God is righteous and the psalmist is all concerned that wickedness takes place and he struggles with that and he says they're your enemies so don't I have a right to make them my enemies? And he realized that God is good and righteous. One of my sources gave me a good word. Verses 19 to 24, God is omnirighteous. I like that.

I've never seen that before so let's say that together. Omnirighteous. He is always righteous. He's never wrong. He's never wicked. He's never deceitful. He never lies.

Never. He never leads us in the wrong direction. We're never mistaken for following his will because he is righteous and even when wrong occurs, it won't stay wrong because he is righteous and he will bring about right even out of wrong. At the end, David is so caught up in acknowledging his God. He says in verse 23, search me oh God and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts and literally the Hebrew says see if there be any way of pain in me.

Isn't that a good way to put it? Look deeply within me. You do that because you know me. Search me out not so that you will find out something because God knows it all but I will find out some area of pain in me that grieves you, that hurts you, that is different from the way I should be because you are righteous and I am not. Search me and reveal to me those areas and then he says at the end and then lead me in the path of everlasting life that I might live the kind of life you've planned for me which is everlasting. Well, we're just getting started in what promises to be an encouraging week of Bible studies. Insight for Living has set aside all five days to dig deeply into Psalm 139. Chuck Swindoll titled this new mini-series, For These Reasons Lord, We Thank You. To learn more about the ministry of Insight for Living, please visit us online at insightworld.org.

Chuck will share a closing comment in just a moment, so please stay with us. But first, it's possible that today's message has ignited some curiosity to learn more about theology. As Chuck said, the more familiar we become with theological truth, the more likely we'll begin thinking theologically.

Well, this is a good time to point you to a resource on our website. It's a topical page that will expose you to the practical side of Christian belief, and it'll equip you with the tools to explain your faith with confidence. To learn more, just visit us online at insight.org slash theology. Well, in addition to theology, if we had to pick one word that identifies our passion at Insight for Living, it would certainly be this one, grace. Grace that we receive from God and grace we extend to others. But sometimes we encounter those who twist God's grace into something it's not. Chuck, we saw this distortion come up again and again in our study of Matthew's Gospel, and few things are more awkward than getting rebuffed by a legalist.

Well, you're right, Dave. Anyone who's been verbally dressed down by a legalist knows the ugly feeling of shame that follows. Have you ever been there? I sure have. Let me paint a picture for you. You've made a foolish mistake. You're at your lowest moment.

You need someone to guide you to safety, but instead the legalist kicks into judge-and-jury mode, drags your most embarrassing flaws into public view, and then celebrates your failures, like a rabid dog with a juicy bone, satisfying his craving for self-validation, slobbering his way to the next victim, and the next, and the next. Look, I'm not going to preach a sermon here, only to say that Jesus reserved his greatest expressions of anger for the self-righteous Pharisees who preyed upon weakness. But with the same intensity, and even more, Jesus opened his arms to the brokenhearted, the marginalized, the lonely, and embraced them with grace. My friend, more than ever, Insight for Living Ministries is determined to serve as a lavish garden for people all around the world who long to smell the aroma of God's matchless grace, a safe place where imperfect, sinful people are forgiven, taught the truth, and redeemed. In this emotionally charged era where shouting matches are commonplace, where people feel voiceless and overlooked and even condemned, would you be among those who give generously so that we can spread the fragrance of God's grace to those desperate for a second chance? Today, our needs at Insight for Living Ministries are urgent.

As we wrap up another year, your special year-end gift will make all the difference. Please don't delay in your response. Together, let's introduce people to the God who says, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12, 9, My grace is all you need.

My power works best in weakness. Well, here's how you can respond to Chuck Swindoll. Perhaps the quickest way to give is by going to insight.org slash donate. Or you can call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. By giving a donation today, you can extend the gift of grace to someone who desperately needs God's love and forgiveness. Thanks for joining us in this worthwhile effort to deliver the good news. Once again, if you're listening in the United States, our phone number is 1-800-772-8888. Or you can also donate through our convenient and easy to use mobile app. Or give online at insight.org. I'm Dave Spiker, inviting you to prepare for Thanksgiving when you join us again Tuesday to hear Insight for Living with Chuck Swindoll. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-19 23:44:47 / 2023-07-19 23:52:44 / 8

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