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God Made Me (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 3, 2023 4:00 am

God Made Me (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 3, 2023 4:00 am

The psalmist proclaims that we are fearfully and wonderfully made—although that may not be how we always feel. Recall the wonder of God’s handiwork and providence as we continue a study in Psalm 139. That’s the focus on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg



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The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

But if we're honest, that's not always how we feel about ourselves. Today on Truth for Life, we'll consider the wonder of God's handiwork and providence as Alistair Begg continues a study in Psalm 139 with a message he's titled, God Made Me. Psalm 139, and we read the section that begins at verse 13. For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance. In your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. Amen. Father, we're glad to be able to say these things to you by way of our songs, but we recognize that what you have said to us is of greater importance than what we say to you. We thank you for our Bibles. We thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit. And we pray now that as we look to this passage, you will help us, that we might understand, believe, and live in the light of its truth. For Jesus' sake we ask it.

Amen. Well, we come to the third stanza of this psalm. There is one section that remains that runs from verse 19 through to 24. And what we're doing here is we are acknowledging the fact that David, in this way, as in other of his poems, is reflecting on the nature of his relationship with God. The wonder of who God is is combining with the reality in David's heart and mind that this God, who is so vast and so powerful, actually knows him. And that's how he began in verses 1–6.

He is saying, God, you know me. And then, in verses 7–12, God, you're with me. And now, here, in verses 13–18, God, you made me.

You made me. Now, when we began a couple of weeks ago, three weeks ago, we said that this psalm, along with the Bible, really, in its entirety, addresses foundational questions that are asked by everybody at some point along the journey of life. And we articulated them in a certain way. Similarly, we could say that people are asking, Where was I if anywhere before I was born? I remember when Sue and I were driving all the way to Florida many, many years ago, somewhere about three o'clock in the morning when we're driving through the night, a voice from the back seat of our car from one of our children actually asked that question.

Excuse me. Where was I before I was born? And so I said, Okay, well, your mom will talk about that when we get there. Where was I if anywhere before I was born? And where will I be if anywhere after I die? Very, very important questions. We need to have an answer to those questions, to explain our origins and to understand our destiny. And so philosophers and scientists, people of great worth, have answered those questions in their own way throughout history.

Einstein, who was celebrated intellectual in his day, 1932, writing in the credo, answered as follows. He said, Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntarily and uninvited for a short stay without knowing the whys and the wherefores.

There is no real order to it, he says. We can't really understand it. We're not here by invitation. We're not here by design.

We're only here for a short while, and quite honestly, many of the questions remain unanswered. Now, we could go around the universe and give other answers, but let's just look at the answer that David is providing here. In contrast to Einstein, David is saying, I am the result of God's creative handiwork.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Now, this is not just a message that ebbs out of the Old Testament, but it is a message which runs through the totality of Scripture. And quite wonderfully, by the time the apostle Paul, who of course began life as a very orthodox and devout Jewish boy, raised in that context understanding that God is God, when he finally met God in the person of Jesus on the way to Damascus, he had a vast expansion of his understanding of the extent to which God was going in order that God might know him. And so when he is invited to address the intellectuals in Athens, it's not surprising that he takes the opportunity to make sure that they understand that God himself, quote, gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. God himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. So the fact that we are alive is on account of God's eternal purpose, that we are still breathing is on account of God's sustaining grace, and that we have a future to anticipate is under his sovereign care.

The Bible declares that the universe was made by him, that it is providentially sustained by him, and that the universe is accountable to him. Now, it's not uncommon when you begin to affirm such things or perhaps get in a conversation with friends and colleagues at work or at school, and you are brave enough to make such an affirmation to say, Well, we're studying 139 Sam, and this is what it says. And one of your friends says to you, But I thought you were doing science at college. I thought you were a scientific person.

I mean, why would you even suggest such a thing? And the great pressure that comes to individuals—unless we've got a grasp of this—is a real pressure. Bruce Milne, in his book Know the Truth, which as elders we studied a good long time ago now, makes a point and he makes it very well. You see, he is pointing out that it is the very order and structure of the universe which makes scientific investigation possible. It is the fact of the repetitive nature of things that allows people to extrapolate from a hypothesis and to affirm it or to set it aside. He says it's no accident that the scientific revolution was located in the Christianized West at the close of the Middle Ages, nor that so many of the leaders of the revolution were men of profound biblical Christian faith.

Now, you can simply check and see if that is the case. We can go back and say how many of those men were actually God-fearing men. And the fact is that they recognized that God, who has established everything, has so structured the universe that it would be possible for them to find out God's truth after him, if you like, and to make these discoveries. But of course, we're a long way from that initial revolution, and we know too that, as we sang this morning, though the eye of sinful man his glory may not see. And we are at the end of a period of time—even in these last twenty-four months, I would say—where there has never, in my estimation, been such a preoccupation with science, as if science as an entity was God, as if science knew everything. And those of us who are poor souls fiddling around, as it were, with the Bible somehow or another, have to try and catch up. We owe a large measure of this to Darwin's origin of the species. At the end of the nineteenth century, Darwin's hypothesis allowed people who didn't want to believe in God, didn't certainly want to believe in a God who knew them and to whom they were accountable, but they had no real way of dispensing with him until along comes Darwin and his friends and says, Oh, well, you don't really need to believe in a God like this.

Let me show you how this works. And at the same time, when we begin to affirm these things—at least, this may not happen to you, but it happens to me—people say, Well, why does the Bible say such silly things? I mean, why does it say, for example, that God clothes the grass of the field? He doesn't go out clothing the grass of the field. Why does it say that?

Well, it's a good question, isn't it? It says it because the psalmist or the prophet, in affirming that, did not say that because he did not understand the process of sowing and of germination and of fruitfulness. He wasn't saying, Oh, we don't know how it works, God just clothes it.

No, he's saying that the primary cause of all that we have is none other than God himself. In the same way, when you read the Bible, then it says that God sends the rain. When it says that God moves the clouds. When it says he controls the thunder.

When he deals with the lightning. Once again, it is not because the people did not understand the water cycle. They may not have understood it the way we were taught it at school, where we had to understand evaporation, convection, precipitation, and collection, and it all goes around and around like that. They got some measure of that, they recognized that, they looked up and they saw it, but what are they saying is, God is behind this. God is the one who put the water cycle in process.

That's why it works as it does. God's omnipotence shapes David's understanding of the world. It is because of who God is that the world is as it is. And that's why the prophets of God spoke so straightforwardly in their generation. Because the gods of the nations that surrounded them and often invaded them had all kinds of theories and ideas. And so, for example, Jeremiah, he says, Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? The answer is no.

They can't bring rain. You see, either God is God, or you have a God that you imagine. He exists, somehow or another, in your imagination. What kind of God would that be? No, you see, God has revealed himself.

Can any of the false gods bring rain, or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.

You're the one that does all this. You see, what a vastly different perspective in view of the world it actually is. How to think Christianly, as we said on the first Sunday of the year, is so vitally important. To think biblically—that doesn't mean you only think about things that are in the Bible, but it means that we view the things that unfold in the universe through the prism of the Bible, or understood in light of the truth of the Bible. You do all these things, and all these things includes not only the vastness of it all, the macro picture, but also the micro picture.

And it is to this micro picture—forgive me for taking so long to get to verse 13—but this micro picture is what is being addressed here. Notice what he says. Let me suggest that we just gather our thoughts under two simple headings. One, you designed me, and two, you determined my days. You designed me, first of all.

Notice what it says. For you formed my inward parts, created, fashioned, put together according to plan. I did not arrive by accident, but I am here by design.

I am the intended result of the mind of God. You see, look at how David is dealing with this. He doesn't just say, You know everything. He says, You know me. He doesn't say, You are everywhere. He says, You are everywhere with me. And he doesn't just say, You made everything. He says, You made me—me!

Little old. Oh, no. You made me. Wilcock, whose commentaries I find wonderfully helpful on the Psalms, says, You know, what we have here is the already God. The already God.

He says, for example, I can't utter a word without his knowing it already. Verse 4, I can't go anywhere without him being there already. Verse 8, And I can't even be me to be what I am without his having already made me.

That's the picture. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I was intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Now, the pictures that are here can be teased out on your own. You knitted me. You wove me.

There's nothing random about this. And all of this you've done in secret. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, in the depths of the earth.

What does he mean by that? Well, I think it's just a metaphor. In the place of unknowing. When I was safe within my mother's womb, and your eyes saw my unformed substance. In other words, God was doing ultrasounds long before we found ultrasounds.

Every scientific discovery for good is a discovery of that which God in his infinite wisdom has made possible by his creative design. You see what he's saying here? Even when my mom didn't know that I was there, you knew I was there. When I was embryonic. When that little thing had happened down there. And she didn't even know. She didn't know. But you knew.

Because you were responsible for that. That's what he's saying. Well, you see, this is not exactly a very scientific explanation of things, is it?

No, of course it's not. It's a very good explanation of things. I don't expect… Some of you are medics. I was at the clinic this week and sitting in the coffee shop waiting for someone, and I was trying to listen in on conversation, see if I could learn something. And I was hoping, actually, that I would sit next to a couple of doctors who were in obstetrics, because my head was full of some, 139. And I felt perhaps they'll be talking about things, and then I can learn. Well, they were talking about things, but unfortunately they were not in obstetrics. But they were talking about how they had some exams coming up, and one was a fellow and another was something else. It was all very interesting. I only got the gist of it, but it was clear to me that there is a certain way in which you're trained, and there is a certain answer to the question that you're asked.

For example, I would like you to explain in our next tutorial the formation of the fetus. Now, we don't expect that the Christian medic says, Oh, that's easy, Psalm 139 verses thirteen and following. But we do expect that the Christian medic actually believes that.

That's not the scientific explanation, but that is the underlying reality. God is at work. Psalm 127.

We often share it, don't we, when we have occasion to write a card to somebody who's become a parent for the first time. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. God has done this. God has put me together, he says, with a unique purpose. Think about David's life as well.

He's a shepherd, he's a soldier, he's a poet, he's whatever he is. And he recognizes he didn't come into existence by accident, and neither did any one of us. If this isn't too graphic—and if it is, it's too late—none of us is here as a result of the mechanical consequence of a particular act of intercourse. Because intercourse has occurred millions of times without resulting in conception. When it results in conception, the Christian affirms that this is an act of God. That from eternity he purposed that this would be the case.

There are no mistakes. God from eternity gladly giving life, deliberately bringing each of us into being. Now, we need to teach this to our children.

It's a fair question. Where was I before I was born? You were nowhere before you were born.

We're not Hindus. You were nowhere before you were born. You were put together, woven, knitted intricately in an amazing way in your mom's tummy. And God did this, because he wanted you here, right now, today, to be you. Now the children need to learn this. And I was tempted to suggest that we would finish with one of my favorite songs.

I'm not sure that she was amenable to the idea, so I didn't even broach it. But you know, if I were a butterfly—it's a theological wonder, this song, you know— If I were a butterfly, I'd thank you, Lord, for giving me wings. And if I were a robin in the tree, I'd thank you, Lord, that I could sing. And if I was a fish in the sea, I'd wiggle my tail, and I'd giggle with glee, but I'd just thank you, Father, for making me me.

Because you gave me a heart, and you gave me a smile, and you gave me Jesus, and you made me your child, and I'd just thank you, Father, for making me me. I'm not as tall as I'd like to be. I'm not as bright as I'd like to be. I'm not, I'm not, whatever, whatever, whatever. I'm not like, I'm not, I'm not, I am. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. You are God's perfect design for you. That's what he's saying.

That's either true, or it's a flat-out lie. Either we live in chaos, or we live under the all-seeing eye of the God of Psalm 139. And if you are making your way through life without a sensible answer to those questions, Where did I come from?

What am I? Where am I going? Then let me encourage you to look carefully at the way in which Scripture addresses all of that. You're listening to Truth for Life. That is Alistair Begg helping us wrestle through some of the biggest questions we face in life.

We'll hear more tomorrow. Scripture just taught us that Christians are to view all things that unfold in the universe through the prism of the Bible. And that is why every day on Truth for Life, we teach the Bible.

We trust that God, by his grace, will move many who listen from merely having an interest in religion to experiencing a personal relationship with Jesus. In addition to these daily messages, we choose biblically sound books on a wide variety of topics that we can recommend to you to help you grow in your faith. So let me encourage you to request the book we're currently recommending. It'll give you a whole new perspective on success. The book is titled Dream Small, the Secret Power of the Ordinary Christian Life.

That's a title you won't find in the career section of the bookstore. No matter your profession or your aspirations, you've likely been told to dream big, to set big goals. But what would it look like for you to flip your definition of success, to redirect your efforts away from lofty personal goals, and instead, to make your focus the one-on-one encounters that happen throughout the day that have eternal impact? In the book Dream Small, you'll discover that establishing goals that align with the dreams God made for you will change the way you view everything. You may find a far greater measure of happiness as a result. Request your copy of the book Dream Small when you donate to support the teaching ministry of Truth for Life. Go to truthforlife.org slash donate or call us at 888-588-7884.

I'm Bob Lapine. It is easy for us perhaps to glorify God on days filled with joy, but why should we still praise Him on horrible, traumatic days? We'll hear the answer from Alistair Begg tomorrow. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-03 05:15:12 / 2023-07-03 05:24:00 / 9

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