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Stop and Smell the Roses

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
May 27, 2024 2:00 am

Stop and Smell the Roses

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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May 27, 2024 2:00 am

God displays his glory in creation, generously uses our praise, and cares graciously for his people. Pastor Hunter Strength explains and illustrates this wonderful psalm in praise of the Creator.


I do want to thank you all for your prayers as I was preaching over at Temple Reform Baptist Church in Hall River, filling their vacated pulpit while they were looking for a pastor over there and are about to consider a man. So they asked for me to express their thankfulness to you all for sharing me with them and we had a good time as we looked at Genesis 3 together this morning. As Katie was sharing her testimony and as I was having the privilege of watching you all sing, I got to thinking of the blessed privilege it is to watch the church grow individually and how we have the privilege of hearing individual testimonies and considering and adding one another to the flock of God. And as I'm thinking of the text that we were looking at tonight in Psalm 8, I was particularly struck as I recall Ethan Salswell's testimony as he was sitting in his home in Oregon as a young boy and how they got struck by a thunderstorm there, which seems to be a fairly unusual thing. And how the Lord used that and his previous knowledge of the gospel to thunder in his heart that the God who created that is the same God who died for me. How God utilized what we would call creation or general revelation and the truths of the revealed word to open the heart, the soul of our brother Ethan and to call him to himself. Beautiful testimony, quite unusual from what we typically hear and it's one that stood out to me as I was thinking before I came up here tonight.

As we are going to look at Psalm 8 together and as we are going to examine the text together tonight, I want to begin by asking you a question. The question is, is that in the midst of this busy world that we live in, when was the last time you took the advice of the old saying and stopped and smelt the roses? How long has it been since you intentionally slowed down, since you stepped outside and you thought about the world that you were looking at? When was the last time you lifted your eyes from your phone, from your cubicle, from the asphalt that you drive down or walk on day by day and looked around to find your heart shaken by the thought that we personally know the one who has made everything that we see even today?

If you're much like the world today, it may have been a while. We live in a fast-paced society full of glowing screens and screaming sounds all vying for our attention and this has created a world around us that has effectively detached us from the shouting sermon that is God's created world. This reality is an unfortunate and prophetic fulfillment of the concerns expressed by C.S.

Lewis. It was thought to be a grumpy old curmudgeon who just couldn't get along with the times as he expressed that he was quite concerned with the development of automobiles and technology. In Lewis' mind, the development of these things would serve to create a world that was so fast-paced that we wouldn't have time to slow down and enjoy a walk around God's creation where our minds are left open to contemplate the things that are heard and seen around us. I believe that this was picked up on in the classic Fahrenheit 451 as the protagonist Clarice meets Montag and asks, have you noticed how big the billboards have gotten lately? She marks that they're now 200 feet long when the average billboard was only 48 beforehand.

She says it's because people drive by so fast nowadays that they wanted to make sure that their advertising would last. And is that true in your own life today? Is your mind so drowned out with the fast-pacedness of this world, its responsibilities, and its entertainments that you've effectively forgotten what it means to enjoy the world around you and to stop and to think? In the mind of John Calvin, from the greatest of mountains all the way to a single blade of grass, there is not one thing on this earth that God did not create for our enjoyment to his glory. If this is you today, it is my prayer that as we look at Psalm 8, we will find ourselves reminded of the importance of creation, what it communicates, and how it sparks awe in the hearts of those who believe. I believe that we will find our hearts sparked with awe as we consider three things tonight. The first of them being as we consider our God's glory in creation, then we will look at our God's generous use of praise, and finally we will conclude with our God's gracious care for mankind.

The first thing that I want us to highlight is our God's glory in creation. David begins this Psalm by crying out in worship, O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth. In your Bibles, if it is like mine, and indeed most modern translations would have it rendered this way, O Lord, and the first one would be fully capitalized all the way through.

And then the second one would only have the first letter capitalized there. Now this is your translator's way of letting you know that David in the first word there is using the word for God's covenant name, Yahweh or Jehovah. And the second one there is what is typically used for what we would know as Adonai or Master or Lord. And David is declaring, O the God who is covenantly faithful to us, your people, the God who we are serving, the one who is Lord over us. And David isn't finished there, though.

David isn't finished. He passionately explodes as he worshipfully emphasizes Israel's faithful God and how he is not bound to Israel alone. But that Israel's covenant Lord, who they are loyal to, he is the one whose name is excellent, not only in Israel, but his name is excellent in all the earth and not even in the earth alone. But he has set his glory above the heavens. To put it simply, David considers the glory of his God as being declared through creation. And as David considers that, he finds himself thinking that God indeed is so glorious that not only is he declared in Israel, but he is declared over the whole earth. And not only is he declared in the whole earth or the universe, but his glory exceeds the heights of the heavens themselves.

He is in containably glorious. At verse three, we look down and we notice that David is meditating. And as he is meditating, his heart is set on God's creation. It says, When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained. David is meditating on God's creation and how he has purposefully set it into place. And this sparks a sense of all within him. Now, this creator cares for man.

As David gazes up into the night sky, he was reminded of how small he is. And this caused me to ask myself, when was the last time that I was awestruck? When was the last time that you were full of awe? Now, my definition of awe is that awe is a mind widening experience where our understanding of the world is confronted as being too small. Awe is an experience that we do not anticipate. It confronts us out of nowhere. And as it confronts us, it shows that the map that we have drawn of creation, of the world, of the experiences around us is too small. And this awe striking experience bursts down those barriers and we are left speechless.

For instance, as I'm preparing for us to head back to Montana for our missions trip, last year was my first time attending there and we had the privilege of going to Glacier National Park. And to this day, I regularly reflect on how mind blowing that experience was. How on that overcast day, the mountains pierced through the canopy of the clouds there.

How the melting snow caps released streams of crystal clear water that raced down the mountains into those blue and majestic ponds. How powerful the animals that we saw there were and how small I felt at that moment. What was so amazing about that experience was that my mind didn't seem to have a category to file how otherworldly that experience was. Now these experiences are important for us to have, but you don't have to travel across the country to enjoy them. You might experience it as the miracle of a mother birthing a child.

You might experience it as you watch a bird carefully knitting its nest or the budding of tulips in spring. And regardless of when it strikes you, a sense of awe in our lives is important because it charges us with the reality that we aren't quite as big as we think we are. What is so important for us to understand about this is that these aren't just goosebump giving experiences, but that these goosebump giving experiences cause us to consider the fact that it was God, a God who is greater than these great experiences that put these experiences here. I want you to think about Psalm 19 for a moment if you will turn over there shortly as we consider creation. In Psalm 19, one through six, David highlights the glory of God in creation. And in verse one through six, he's now locked his mind in on the sun. And he says this, at the end of verse four, he says, In them, in the heavens, he, that is God, has set a tabernacle for the sun. And the sun, it's like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of the heaven and its circuit to the other end, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. David's going to describe the sun as a bridegroom coming coming out of its chamber. And I'm not sure if this is David's intent or not. But in the ancient Near Eastern context, in those pagan religions where they would often deify the sun, it was common that they would think that the sun at the end of the day would retreat into the sea to his bride as they would deify the ocean.

And it would seem that maybe David is picking up on this, that the sun is a slave of God that races out like a bridegroom and that he is the slave of God. But it is not as though he is merely unmoved and disgruntled with his occupation, but that he's like a husband on his wedding day. And men who have been married or anticipating marriage, that's one of the greatest days of your life. It's not a dread going through that day. Now the planning may have been, but that day is not a dread.

You're dressed out as finely as you can be, and you are racing towards that moment where you are finally going to get your bride. It's a delightful day. And this seems to be how David is being moved by the Spirit, inspired by the Spirit, to describe the sun as the servant of God who is not merely bored with his job, but is akin to a man on his wedding day.

It's a joy. And he goes forward and he says, but not only that, the sun, he's like a strong man who's set in a race. And he's running from one end to the other.

This, in my mind, might remind you of the old movie Chariots of Fire with Eric Little in it. And in it, Eric Little says, I believe God made me for a purpose. He made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.

In the end of the movie, you might recall, Eric is running in the Olympics, and as he is racing with everything that he has in this quite unorthodox running posture, he throws his head back, and it's as though he's running in the glory of God as he crosses the finish line and receives that golden medal. And this is how David describes the sun. He is the one who is running in and for the glory of God from one end to the other. He is delighted to be the servant of God. And as David contemplates this rejoicing sun as the servant of God, he looks at this great orange ball and thinks this God is greater than even the power revealed by the sun as we can't escape its heat.

And beloved, David says, this is the light that the sun has in its existence both day in and day out. And beloved, is this our experience as we look at the world? Or are we so trapped in our digital bubbles that we haven't considered God's creation in recent memory?

Better yet, do we have time to contemplate creation at all like David is here? Or do we just have our phones do our thinking for us? And I'm not being a curmudgeon here, but the reality is, is that our phones do most of our thinking for us. And if you disagree, look at your phone and then go look at your wife or your child's phone.

They lock into algorithms and my phone could present to me news and hobbies and events that you would never see come across yours. And it locks you into a world that feeds everything straight into your preferences and how you want everything lined up. And it does all your thinking for you because you were trapped in your own echo chamber. And it's only serving to the polarization of our world around us.

But I digress. The reason this is so important, this contemplation of creation, is because, as Herman Boving puts it, general revelation, that is the created world, is the foundation which special revelation, that's the word of God, builds itself on. And not only do we find this text calling our hearts to be sparked with awe as we consider God's creation.

And so, yes, we probably should take some time this week to stop and smell the roses. But we also find this text sparking awe in our hearts that this God who has created all this is the God who is mindful of man. And the first way that David explains him as being mindful of us is in verse two. In verse two, David makes a monumental shift from the universe to a little infant. And this is where we see point two, which is God's generous use of our praise.

Now, what is intriguing here is that little nursing infants don't speak typically. Yet the text reads that it's from their mouths that God shuts up the enemies of himself. The NIV here renders that through the praise of children and infants, you have established a stronghold against your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger. In my opinion, I believe that David is using poetic language to describe the feebleness of Israel and how God uses the worship of his people as a warfare on his enemies. And this is not an unusual theme in the scriptures.

For instance, you might be reminded of the story in Second Chronicles of King Jehoshaphat as he is informed that he is being surrounded by the Ammonites and the Moabites and their allies. And Jehoshaphat has really nothing to think about except running to prayer. And it's a beautiful prayer of reliance upon God. And in the midst of that, the spirit moves and a man stands up to prophesy and reminds them that they may rest on the Lord, that the Lord will do a work for them. And the next day as they rise up and go into battle, Jehoshaphat makes a very, again, unorthodox decision. He lines up the worshippers in front of their army. And as they march in to battle, they are singing, give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever. And as they meet, God sends an ambush and they are totally wiped out without the people of God lifting a single finger.

God uses worship as warfare. You might think of Paul and Silas who find themselves in jail. And as the midnight hour comes, they are singing in those cells as God strikes their prison with an earthquake and breaks their bonds loose. But most important of all is one I want you to see in Matthew 21, if you would turn there for just a moment. Matthew 21, we will look at verse number 16, Matthew 21, 16. Jesus has made his triumphal entry. He has cleansed the temple, has healed the lame and the sick.

And then we read that the text says that there were children. It says, verse nine, then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out saying, Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. And when he had come into Jerusalem and all the city was moved saying, who is this? So the multitude says this is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee. Verse 12, then Jesus went to the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.

And he said, it is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves. Then the blind and the lame came to him and the temple and he healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did and the children crying out in the temple and saying Hosanna to the son of David, they were indignant and said to him, do you hear what these are saying? And hear Jesus's response to them. And Jesus said to them, yes. Have you never read out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants? You have perfected praise.

Then he left them and went out to the city of Bethany and lodged there. It's as though these Pharisees, these doubting ones are saying, Jesus, do you not hear what they're saying? And are you not going to close up their mouths? And it's as though Jesus is saying, no, my graciousness is the reason their mouth is open and my grace is open their mouths that yours might be shut. And he leaves an open end there as these are the enemies of our Lord. And what a beautiful thing it is to think that our God is pleased to hear and to use the praise of weak and needy sinners as an act of spiritual warfare among his enemies. What a precious thought it is to think that Jesus uses the praise of a redeemed people who are redeemed trophies of grace that were once broken and bruised to let all of his enemies know that he is who he says he is.

Beloved, as we have gathered here tonight, we are doing just that. And although our worship may not be perfect, our lovely Lord is pleased to use the praise of poor, redeemed sinners for his own purposes. And what more could draw our hearts to worship tonight than the final thought of this text tonight, which is that as our hearts contemplate this text, we are sparked with awe as we consider the gracious care of God for mankind.

But before I go any further, I think as we contemplate most of our conversion stories for a great deal of us, we were saved in church services as God stimulates or regenerates our hearts, as we hear the praise of the saints of God or the preaching of the preacher to our hearts. He uses the worship of his people to wage warfare on those who were once his enemies that he might slay them and raise them up again by grace. We move forward to our last point, which is the gracious care of God for mankind.

We will run back to Psalm 8. As David looks at the sky, he thinks to himself, wow, the maker of all this knows and cares for me. He says this in verse four, what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you visit him? The word mindful there is important for us to pick up on because throughout the Bible, as Derek Kidner marks, God's remembering always implies his movement towards the object of his memory. Not only does God, the one who upholds all of creation, remember us, but the text says he visits us or it could be rendered. He cares for us.

And why is that? David builds up on it because he has elevated these little beings. Remember, David is gazing up into the night sky without light pollution. And as David is considering this, he is he is then struck at the smallness of man and he thinks, what are we that you are mindful of us? What are we that you care for us? And then he marks with almost resounding praise that you have made us a little lower than the angels.

You have crowned us or him with glory and honor. Why does God care for us? It's because he has elevated these us, these little beings known as humans to the high status of image bearers of God.

This passage should cause us to remember the delightful scenes of Eden as God lovingly creates our parents in his image and calls them to exercise dominion over the earth. And so why does God care for us tonight? Because he has stamped his image upon us. And because sin has ravaged it and he will not allow it to go tainted.

I'm getting ahead of myself by divine grace is reclaiming it. Now, I believe the question that we should ask as we look at this text, as it says in verse six, that you have made him or humanity to have dominion over the works of your hands. Is the first thing that I ask myself as I examine this is, do I reflect his image properly and do I exercise dominion properly? By dominion, I mean, do we abuse the resources that God has given us? Do we care for what we have? How do we treat our animals? How do we treat our spouses?

How do we treat our friends or our customers? How do we steward the life that God has given us and the calling that God has placed upon us? How are we stewarding the gifts of God that are granted unto us? And I think you know, the answer to that is not perfectly. James picks up on this and James three, seven through eight, as he writes, for every kind of beast and bird of reptile and creature of the sea is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. James is saying we can tame all of these creatures, but we can't tame ourselves. We can't tame ourselves. We can tame all sorts of things, but we can't tame our sinful selves.

Do we exercise dominion perfectly? No. And do we see all things put under our feet?

No. But we aren't left without hope. And this leads us to the book of Hebrews, chapter two. The last time I'll have you flip through the scriptures tonight is in Hebrews chapter two.

I'll read you verses five through nine. For he has not put the world to come, of which we speak in subjection to angels, but one testified in a certain place, saying, What is a man that you are mindful of him or the son of man that you care for him? You have made him a little lower than the angels. You have crowned him with glory and honor and set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.

For in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But what do we see? We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. Do we see everything beneath our feet?

No. But do you know what we are able to see until that time comes when we will steward the lives that God has given us? Our great calling is image bearers and the world that he is giving us.

Do you know what we have to see until that great day comes? By faith, we see Christ. We lay our eye of faith upon Christ, the one who is the creator and the sustainer, who has come, who has died and risen in glory. For our honor or for his honor and for our salvation, Jesus is the one who has declared his glory in creation. John 1-3 says, all things were made through him and without him, nothing was made that was made. Christ's glory is eternally declared in creation, that Christ should say, if these ones do not praise me, the rocks themselves will praise me.

Jesus is the one who was worshiped through the mouths of babes in Matthew 21. Jesus is the culmination of divine thoughtfulness toward us as he, the word, became flesh and dwelt among us. And since it is through him all things are being made right tonight, it is imperative that you realize that you are created in the image of God for the purpose of reflecting his glory to the world. And it's imperative that you also understand that this is not some message calling you to live in light of a purpose that you could just reclaim through your rejuvenated efforts. You have tattered those efforts from your own conception.

You have not stewarded your bearing of the image perfectly. God has created us to live in his image, to fill the earth full of his glory, and we have not done that. And so we are responsible to him. We have all sinned and failed in this calling, but in Christ there is forgiveness and reconciliation. If we will call upon him and trust in him as our righteousness, do we see all things under our feet? No, but we see Christ who was made a little lower than the angels as he came and dwelt among us and died and rose for us in our redemption.

Do you know why we should be drawn to passionate, or do you know why this should draw us to passionate worship tonight? It's because as we walk out of here and as we see the setting sun, we can say to ourselves, I know the one who made it all. He has remembered me and remembers me regularly. He has died for me and is coming again for me. He will see to it that all things are made new, and I will one day enjoy an earth that is flooded unceasingly with his glory. I know the God who made it all, and as he has put me here for a purpose and I've tattered it, he has in grace invaded our time and place and by grace brought me to be known as a redeemed son and daughter, and he will not forget me.

He will not forget me. He is mindful of us and has moved on our account, and he cares for us even to this day. So what do we learn from this tonight? First, we learn that we need to slow down and consider the visible sermon of God's creation. As soon as your eyes are open, a sermon is declared to you throughout the entirety of the day.

His glory is set before you that even the smallest little dust particles that you see floating in those streams of light coming through your blinds in the morning, he manages the details of them all. The creation preaches two sermons actually. One is willing and one is unwilling. Romans 1 tells us that it is declaring the invisible attributes of God and that mankind in sin shuts them out and God's delivering them up to a reprobate mind. But if you look over at Romans chapter 8, I'll show you that there is another sermon. The first is a willing one.

The second is unwilling. If I can find the text, it has slipped from my mind. We will find it another time, it seems.

I found it. Verse number 24. The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope. Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And so on the first hand, in the beauty of the buds in spring, in the changing leaves in fall, he declares his handiwork in the shooting stars above us and the raging giant that is the sun. But on the other hand, in the great travesties and plagues and earthquakes and hurricanes, she is unwillingly preaching to us that she yearns for the day where we, the sons of God, will be revealed what we are in glory. And so as you wake up in the morning, be reminded that that beautiful sun has been put there happily by God. But as we see issues arise, plagues and famines upon the earth, she is preaching from the depths of her heart that she yearns for us to be revealed in what we truly are.

Sons and daughters upon whom glory will be given at the time where the sun is revealed. Maybe if, I do have time, I do have time, I will flip over to Proverbs and show you a quick text there as well that I think may be beneficial for us. Proverbs chapter 30, I will read it quickly. Proverbs chapter 30 verse 1, we'll go down to verse 2 actually.

Surely I am more stupid than any man and do not have the understanding of a man. I neither learn wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One who has ascended into heaven or descended. Who has, now notice this eluding to creation, who has gathered the winds in his fist, who has bound the waters in a garment, who has established all the ends of the earth.

What is his name and what is his son's name if you know. And in its twists from the created world, what we call general revelation to special revelation. Every word of God is pure. He is a shield to those who put their trust in him.

Do not as to his words lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. And so I'm not calling you tonight to be some sort of hippies who are hiding in the woods to be more spiritual. People who are hiding in the woods are no more spiritual.

We have unreached peoples and they are no more spiritual. But it does declare the glory of God. But that is not enough for our salvation. We do not know who he is and his son and the glorious offer the gospel given until special revelation is given to us. But for you and I who have been confronted with the word, changed by the word, given new lenses to see the world by the word, we can look at the world and appreciate the glory of the God who has set it there.

The second thing we find tonight is we need to consider that we are babes who have seen the truth. It is through our mouths that Christ is to be praised. Matthew eleven twenty five, Jesus says, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Jesus uses the worship that we offer up even tonight. We are a priesthood of believers. And one reason I think it is a great polemic against the rock band churches of the day is that in our congregational worship, when we strip that away, we are stripping away a facet of your ministry as the priesthood of believers. God uses our worship as a sacrifice of praise tonight, as we will sing our concluding hymn in a moment. And the third thing we need to consider is that our worship is not merely isolated adoration. But it is demonstrated in passionate obedience to the commands of God. And in that entails our evangelism. What we have looked at tonight is found in the evangelistic practices of the apostles as they take the creation and use it to preach the gospel to those around them. Paul does it beautifully in Acts, verses fourteen, eight, eight through eighteen, as he looks at the world and he brings about the God who has created it and shows them that this God is the God who feeds them and nurtures them. And he says, I am showing you this God.

I'll show it to you very quickly. I hear some of you turning. It says in verse fourteen. But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard this and ran in among the multitudes, crying out and saying, Men, why are you doing these things?

We also are men with the same nature of you and preach that you should turn from these useless things to the living God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless, he did not leave himself without witness and that he did good. Notice this gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

And with these sayings, they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. And if I had time tonight, I would, I would take you over to Paul's message at the Areopagus in Acts chapter seventeen as he does the same thing. And he's he's preaching to a people and he's pointing them to the beauty of creation and is showing that he can tell them who the God who made it is.

And we can regularly do that in our evangelism as well. Finally, we need to consider that the God who made everything tonight is mindful of us. And he cares for us as his people.

Consider the lily of the fields. Consider the birds. Consider how faithful our Lord is to them. Are we not much more valuable than they? He cares for us. He knows us.

He remembers us. We are his people. Praise be to God. Let's go to the word of prayer. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the mercy and grace that you extend to us in Christ our Lord. It is your glory that is declared from the heavens.

We cannot escape it. Unreached people groups and those who have shut you out of their mind cannot get away from the loud sermon that is your creation. But, oh, Lord, it alone will not save them, even though they have seared their conscience against it.

It preaches against them and they will be held accountable. But, Lord, may you empower us to go and preach your word, which is capable by your spirit to open blinded eyes and allow them to see that the God who made it all is also the God who has made a way of salvation through his son. We thank you for this, and we pray tonight that you might stir in our hearts a love for you, for your handiwork, and for the greatest of all handiwork, redemption through your son. We rejoice in this to the glory and honor of you, our faithful God. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-29 20:03:03 / 2024-05-29 20:16:40 / 14

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