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November 8, 2020 7:00 am
Much of what we called worship today is really not worship at all.
Many of the so-called praise songs of our age are more about us than they are about God and the use of the personal pronoun hi far exceeds the use of the pronoun he is welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act biblically. Our modern phrases taken on the characteristics of our age and age in which the worship of God is diminished. While our needs and our importance are magnified. Let's join Dr. Boyce as he study Psalm 147 in the seven reasons for which we should exalt and praise our God several times now and my introduction to our studies of the last Psalms of the Psalter. I mentioned a Lutheran woman's name is Marva Dawn she's written a very good book on worship God reaching out without dumbing down and one of the things she says in the book several times over is that much of what we call worship today is not worship at all but instead glorification of ourselves. This is often true of what are sometimes called the praise songs.
Not all of them, of course, but many of them and Don gives this example we just read it to you as it is written out in the hymn books the containment goes like this, I will celebrate sing under the Lord. I will sing to God a new song. Repeat.
I will praise God I will sing to God a new song peach hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah I will sing to God a new song.
Repeat. I will celebrate sing under the Lord. I will sing to God a new song.
Repeat and repeat it all again. It seems to be praising God says it's praising him. But this is the one thing it doesn't actually do as Don points out the verb say I will. But in this song I don't because of God is mentioned as the recipient of my praise and singing the song never says a single thing about or to God that makes us want to ask well what is the song about that. Look at it very carefully, answers clear with all of the repeats I first person pronoun is the subject 28 times, but God, but I myself do not even myself along with the other members of the covenant community. It's just I that kind of focus is gone we might suppose that all the hallelujahs are praising how good I am at celebrating and singing. Unless narcissism that self absorption that is the thing that is most characteristic of our self absorbed age so if I worship is beginning to reflect back kind of self absorption.
It's not spiritual as we suppose, but as worldly. It's alleged worship which is actually taken on the characteristics of our age. We are focused on our selves.
Now the point of all of that is that the praise songs of the Psalter. Don't fall into this trap is one reason why they're such good models for Christian worship, and why they are to be used a lot more in so-called evangelical worship and they are used especially in our day were looking at a particular grouping of these Psalms 146 to 150 last five songs in the Psalter and they develop various aspects of what it means to praise God.
Psalm 146 begins with the personal element. I will praise the Lord all my life, but then goes on to invite God's other people to join in Psalm 148 explains where God must be praise. That's from the heavens above the earth below. In other words, throughout all creation. Psalm 149 tells us how to praise God.
That is, it gives us a suggestion. It is at Psalm says with a new song and Psalm 150 tells everyone everywhere to praise God that everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Now what about Psalm 147. This is a Psalm tells us what we can praise God for what it is striking characteristic in Psalm 147.
The pronoun he which refers to God occurs 14 times and Lord occurs eight times in other words, the Psalm is all about God and about ourselves or I doesn't occur once an hour only occurs one time suggest a course of this is the way the worship of God should be done now as far as an outline goes.
Many of the commentators divided into three parts.
Because there are three calls to praise God and they lead off what might well be three divisions of the song verses one through six versus seven through 11 in verses 12 through 20. I think however that the way the new international version provides this up in the seven stanzas should be preferred because the seven stanzas actually give us seven distinct matters for which we should praise God I will use that division and remember that the Psalm is all about God. We can capture something of the thrust of the song with headings like these. First of all God's care for his people. Secondly, God's care for the least significant among his people for God's provision for his creation for God's delight in the godly five God's blessings on the nation. Six God's rule over creation and seven God's revelation of himself to Israel.
These titles use those titles for the various stanzas, like the Psalm focus our attention on God entirely valid start at the beginning stanza one very first verse draws on several other song. Psalm 33 one which says that it's fitting to praise God and Psalm 92 one, which declares that praising God is good and Psalm 135 three which says the praise is pleasant otherwise in the first verse of this Psalm.
All three of those adjectives are brought together how good it is to sing praises to our God.
How pleasant and how fitting the praise well. We are to ask at that point. Why is it good and pleasant and fitting to praise God and that's what the song goes on the answer in verses two and three uses for birds to record what God is done for his people and says he builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles he heals the brokenhearted, and he binds up their wounds. Quite a few of the commentators suggest that if this really is a postexilic Psalm it means one that was written after the deep dictation of the people to Babylon on the return. It may well of been a Psalm that was composed on the occasion of the dedication of the walls in the days of Nehemiah. Now we don't know what Psalm 147 was composed for that occasion, but it may well have been. It would certainly been appropriate and if that was the case we can sense how good, pleasant and fitting.
It would've been for the Jews of that occasion to sing these words the Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up.
There were about a done exactly that in bringing the exiles back to their own lands far as we're concerned we have no continuing earthly city here, we have no earthly Jerusalem, but we are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem. We praise God for gathering us from this perishing simple world binding up our hearts, healing our wounds and building up our city, which is the Christian church. When we think along those lines, we ought to be able to say how good, pleasant and fitting. It is for us to sing the same kind of praises to our God. Now we go to the second stanza. The writer is reflected on how God brought the exiles back from distant Babylon establish them in a rebuilt Jerusalem that leads them now to reflect on God's power brought them back and is as he says in the stanza scene in his numbering and naming of the stars leads them to say truly God's understanding has no limit on the major point of the stanza is not the God cares for the stars. Of course, so he does, but rather that the one who is great enough to number and name the stars actually concerns himself for us who are insignificant and weak. By comparison, we would expect God to have created the stars illustrative created the stars a course… We praise him for that but want should sustain even the most humble of his creatures is that God shows an interest in us, saving us from the wicket while he cast the wicked down and this is so remarkable that it becomes the subject of the stanza you find that again and again in Scripture.
I think of one great example and that is the Magnificat for the Virgin Mary. Remember how she signed. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble is filled the hungry with good things, but sent the rich empty away. Now we come to the next stanza, and this is the point at which many of the commentators begin what they call a second section because in verse seven we find another invitation to praise God this case to sing to him with thanksgiving. We asked the same question we ask when we were in stanza one. Why should we do this answers given in verses seven through nine given in addition to what has already been set. God cares for his people and the cares of the least significant among his people. This is because the psalmist says God cares for the animal creation to an interesting sequence of thought. First of all, God covers the earth with clouds. Secondly, the clouds give rain bird rain causes the grass to grow or the grass is food for the cattle and therefore five not only of the cattle provided with food, but all other creatures to including even the baby ravens. Interesting example of the delicacy of thought where the creationist concern of the something that many of us probably most of us, especially those who live in an urban environment really don't have psalmist is also concern for the city already seen them talk about Jerusalem is going to do it again in verses 12 through 14 going to rejoice in the security and peace of the city, but before he dies.
Here in these verses. He thinks of the animals and how God cares for them a few weeks ago when I was preaching on Psalm 145 I called attention to something David said about praising God forever and ever. What I said as I was teaching that is that he didn't mean I want to praise God until I die. Rather, forever and ever, and it is even beyond my death with God in heaven forever.
Well after the service woman is an artist asked me if that meant that there would also be animals in heaven because since the last verse of the same song says let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. While I never thought about that before and while I was hesitating, she reminded me that in Revelation says that Jesus comes riding forth out of heaven on a white horse that I think they were going to be horses in heaven. Well I did know the answer to that question. I still love answer that question. I think that most of the figures in the book of Revelation are just images. I don't find anything in the Bible that suggests that animals have eternal souls will survive death, but I suppose God can create animals in heaven for variety suggest away creates them here, but that's not really the point by referring to the conversation.
What interested me as I got past that Solomon came on to this one was the sensitivity. This woman had four animals, something I don't and she was she was closer to the Psalm when I was seventh and today she's closer to the Psalm and I still am very close to the writer because here, in addition to his concern for the people in the insignificant people in the city. This man is concern for animal creation. Now we go to the next stanza, and at first glance, verses 10 and 11 seem to be a digression because here writer is reflecting on the value of godliness rather than physical strength, but is not really a digression is what the psalmist says he's talking about the Lord and he says the Lord delights and those who fear him who put their hope in his unfailing love, that we should be reminded of that as we praise God for it. We should also recognize that that's what God cares about and that's what God cares about will give more time trying to be godly or time for spiritual things and for worldly concerns is nothing wrong with the worldly concerns God has placed us here something wrong with strength of physical beauty or anything else. But all those things are going to pass away on the Bible tells us the one who does the will of the Lord is going to abide forever nexus on talks about God's blessing on the nation and after this he goes on to talk about creation and finally another blessing to write about Jerusalem here is a God is done for important things with the city. He says that God has strengthened its gates to remember that in the days of Nehemiah.
The final thing they had to do is build the gates.
He said he blesses its people. He says that God grants peace to the nation and finally he says that God satisfies its residents with good food. Now those are great blessings for any people. So if we've enjoyed the same blessings as we have we should be praising God in this area as well. We need to remember that a great blessing for any nation is its safety. And the reason is because we tend to forget that we forget that it comes from God.
People who lived through times of war, think differently, they know differently. War is terribly destructive. Both of lives and of wealth. So when the country is secure and peace as ours is then the people who live there prosper and are able to enjoy what we call the good life. Use language of the solemnly enjoy the finest of the wheat and many other great blessings to God gives us peace.
We ought be thanking them for it.
In verses 15 through 18 is returned to the care of God for nature. Again this case to his rule over it through the weather and through the recurring seasons as part of a pattern here is what the writer is doing in the Psalm is talking about Jerusalem and its people. And then the earth and its creatures that Jerusalem that it people in the earth and its creatures all again. Verse 18 became of special interest to the English in the 16th century after the defeat of the great Spanish Armada interesting story Spanish were planning to invade England and so the Armada was finally launched after several years of preparation of the summer of 1588 the Navy was to transport the Spanish army to England from the Netherlands.
But first they had to defeat the English Navy.
The Armada consisted of 130 great ships have 7000 sailors and 17,000 soldiers. English had 90 ships under the command of Francis Drake. The battle was fought on for days.
English maintaining their distance in bombarding the Spanish fleet with alternating broadsides there smaller and quicker vessels. They fought wisely and well, but the decisive factor in the battle was a strong wind churned up the English Channel and drove these great unwieldy galleons of the Spanish up the channel into the North Sea were many of them were wrecked and destroyed some of them tried to return by going around Scotland and Ireland and coming back to Spain and Portugal. The other way, but many were wrecked on that return voyage to less than half of that great fleet actually made it back to their home bases victory for England was complete. The Spanish defeat was total in the English celebrated their deliverance by striking a new issue of coins that bore on the coin, the Latin motto of flatmate they use, which translated means God blue to come from the song he stirs up his breezes and the waters flow in that day was at least one nation that knew how to thank God for his deliverance now. One reason why it's been best in my judgment to handle Psalm 147. The way the new international version because it is in seven stanzas rather than in three parts is that verses 19 and 20 really do stand by themselves as a climax.
You know anything about the Bible and its concern for the word of God.
If you studied Psalm 119 another Psalms like it. You know how important that is all the many blessings for which the people of God should be thankful the greatest is that God has established a personal relationship with them by means of a verbalized and written invitation. This says he has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He is done this for no other nation they do not know his laws. That is exactly the same thing.
The apostle Paul says in Romans to remember how he writes about it in the third chapter he's talking about the advantages of being Jewish, and he says this what advantage then is there in being a Jew are what value is there in circumcision and here's his answer much in every way. First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God's. I asked the question. Can any of us experience a greater blessing when laugh. Anything greater for which we should thank God. And the answer to that is, of course, much without the word of God without the Scriptures without the Bible we are utterly confused in the draft where all of the great questions of this life are concerned, is there a God. If so, what is he like where we want are we here for. If there is a God.
How can we come to know and what slip problem with human life was our sin to be dealt with. What way of life is best and what we do here actually matter never find an answer to those questions by ourselves. God is revealed to us in the Bible. He is told what he is like he is told who we are what we are here for how we can be saved from our sin. Why what we do really does matter how John Wesley wrote about it. I am a creature of the day passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God and returning to God just hovering over the great golf till a few moments. Hence, I am no more scene I drop into an unchangeable eternity. I want to know one thing, the way to heaven. How to land safe on that happy shore God himself is condescended to teach me the way for this very end he came from heaven. He has written it down in a book all give me that look at any price give me the book of God.
I haven't here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be almost erroneously. Man of one book. Here, then I am far from the busy ways of man. I sit down alone. Only God is here, in his presence. I open I read his book. For this, and to find the way to heaven is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read. Does anything appear darker intricate.
I lift up my heart to the father of lights, Lord, is it not by word, if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, said that he be willing to do your will, he shall know I am willing to do it. Let me know I will let you be the cry of your heart. If you truly value the Bible want to thank God, only the spirit of God working through that book bring you the spiritual life and give you peace with God. Only the spirit of God working through that book will make you like your Savior Jesus Christ spread her father we come Sunday by Sunday to thank you for your blessings and to praise your name. You are a great God and you have acted in great and gracious ways toward us or your people were glad we have opportunity to praise you here.
But even as we do, we know how inadequate it is even eternity itself will be insufficient to fully praise your name or father.
What we do know we appreciate who you are. We are thankful for that. We acknowledge you to be our Savior through Christ that you have made that known to us through the Scriptures father blesses us together.
Try to study your words and probiotics grant that we may be like Christ.
So bring glory to his name sports in his name that we pray. Amen. You're listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce.
Many lash out at God when trouble strikes and ask what did I do to deserve this, but we forget that mankind is under judgments we are spared only by his insurmountable grace hear more on the subject by requesting our free CD offer entitled God's power and grace. By the late Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse give us a call at 1-800-488-1888 and will send you a copy of God's power and grace again that phone number is 1-800-488-1888.
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