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All Good Gifts from Our Good God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
December 9, 2021 7:00 am

All Good Gifts from Our Good God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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December 9, 2021 7:00 am

Do we really believe that all that we need comes from God? The Israelites did, and they set aside a special feast to thank Him for His provision. Today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice we’re looking at Psalm 65, a harvest hymn celebrating the Jewish harvest festival, the Feast of Tabernacles.

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In our culture where we can get all we need to eat at the corner grocery. We may not appreciate the harvest but in an agricultural society.

The land with little Raymond. It was a different story today on the Bible study. Our were studying Psalm 65. As David lists the many ways in which the God of the harvest abundantly blesses his people and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. David sees his God is not only the creator of all things. But as the one who controls the things he's created. And because he creates and controls. He also provides turn to Psalm 65 and discover why the whole earth shouts for joy that God's provision never spent any time studying the Psalms. I'm sure you had the experience that I have that as you get into one which perhaps you didn't really understand very well before maybe hadn't read very often but as you begin to analyze it and think about it and upsetting. This is really an extraordinary composition is what I feel about Psalm 65 it's an extraordinary exquisite poem about nature is one that I suppose is not normally attracted a great deal of attention from people in the Western world because being about nature. Most of us don't think about that and yet that's really beautifully written and it's not only about nature. It's also about nature's God, how he is gracious to men and women how he is mighty in his great acts on our behalf and how his grace and his power is displayed in his blessing on nature which yields six great bounty for us is exactly what you would expect of a poem written by David, is this home is identified as being are going after work at this a little bit because it's not easy for most of us who know very little about fields and crops of nature to appreciate the nature poem has Lewis in his wonderful little study reflections on the Psalms has a section in which he talks about nature and he points out that in the ancient world of were very few large cities and their vast majority of the people lived in the country simply because they lived in the country. I didn't think about the country the way we do we think about the country. We think of that is a pleasant nice place to get away to kind of escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Farmers don't think of the country that way. Most of these people were farmers don't find in ancient literature. What we would call pastoral poetry that is versus our hymns are for that matter Psalms that describe the landscape of nature is just the way things were, they accepted it that way. And yet, because they live close to nature.

They have an appreciation for it. That is greater than anything we have is a waste. Has Lewis talks about it.

He says the Islamists were writing neither lyrics nor romances naturally give us a little landscape, but they do give us far more sensuously and delightedly than anything I have ever seen elsewhere is the very feel of the leather weather scene with a real countryman's eyes enjoyed. This is pure CS Lewis almost as a vegetable might be supposed to enjoy it all. Having written He then illustrates what he's talking about bison some quotation from Psalm 65 is another way we can think about this. This might come a little closer. It's a harvest him as it was written to be sung when the crops were being gathered are perhaps after they were gathered in this way of thanking God for the bounty that he gave them the harvest that we have our harvest hymns to sing them at Thanksgiving time saying come.

Be thankful people, when we perhaps know best. Another when we plow the fields and scatter sometimes we sing that we had more often when people in the Western world lived closer to the soil. But none of our harvest hymns really has the flavor that this one does is when, as I said is really exquisitely just give you some critical comments. Eric Kidner, who has done one of the little volumes winter varsity on the Psalm says rightly, I think the climax of the song. The stanza is fresh and irrepressible as the fertility it describes puts every harvest him to shame is plotting and contrived. Here we almost feel the splash of the showers and since the spring and growth about us. The whole song has this correctness, whether speaking of God in his temple courts. Verses one through four are in his vast dominion.

Verses five through eight or among the hills and valleys, which is very passing wakens in the life verses nine through 13.

One other comment. They see all the great Lutheran commentator we venture the claim that this is the most eloquent and beautiful description of the blessings that God bestows on field and meadow to be found anywhere in such a brief compass, but it's worth asking how this poem would've been used in Israel.

And when I've already identified it as a harvest him and that means it was probably used at the time of the harvest, probably at Israel's harvest celebration is called the feast of Tabernacles feast of Tabernacles was the longest and the most joyful of Jewish celebrations that began on the 15th day of the seventh month, which they observed the Sabbath, in addition to whatever other Sabbath may abandon then it continued until the 22nd day of the same month which was also observed as a Sabbath, so it was observed for eight days and all this was after the crops were brought in on the people were celebrating the harvest. One of the things they did as part of the harvest festival was to bring what they called the firstfruits they brought the first of the fruits to come in from the fields and related up before God as a token recognition that all of this bounty and come from him. Another feature of the song that may help us to place it at this time of the year and that is that this Psalm is one of only three in the Psalter that uses the word of toner atonement find it in verse three.

Now that's not necessarily significant but it may be because of this fact.

This harvest Festival game in the sixth month was immediately preceded by the day of atonement, so the reference to the atonement here might indicate that this is something that would be fresh in the minds of the people as they gathered in crops saying this him well is little question about how to be outline sometimes is difficult to outline the Psalms, but it's not at all difficult to do this. It's exactly the way the new international version has it verses 1 to 4 than five through eight and 913 I mentioned Eric Kidner. He is little Titleist of the three sections which are helpful. It goes like this.

Number one, the God of grace to the God of might, number three, the God of plenty. Well, if you look at it you see that the third of the stanzas is the longest and that is no mistake, because it's building the war that climax and final stanza of talks about the bounty of God in nature is the thing for which the first two stanzas. Prepare.

So let's look at them and do it stands at a time and a song which is focused on a national holiday Jewish festival like this one might very easily have become nationalistic as it might just think about that. Blessings of God and the Jewish people. The Jewish people only but however special the relationship between God and his own chosen people might be the God of Israel is nevertheless the God of the whole earth, and that's reflected here significantly in harvest him are the Psalm after all, such a thing as common grace, God blesses the fields of the Jewish people is also the God who sends prosperity and the fields. Even nations that don't know him so you have a kind of universalism here verse one declares that grace awaits God in Zion that is in Jerusalem where this festival is taking place with the very next verse verse two recognizes that God is a prayer hearing God to all man who will come say that's right and proper kind of universalism, where universalism sort of scarce people because it sounds like heresy and is commonly understood in this heresy universalism in the heretical sentences that you know that all nations have their religions, but it really doesn't matter because every religion really is just a different path to the same God. Sometimes it's describes different roads leading up the mountain matter what road you take.

Eventually you get to the top. That's a false kind of universalism, but there is a proper kind of universalism and it's this all are able to, willing to, invited to come to God. That's what you have here. This is exactly what Jesus meant when he was talking with the Samaritan woman recall that she had a different view of religion because of the religion of the Samaritans, and she wanted to get them into a discussion about where you should worship. She said you choose that your way of doing things you say out of worship in Jerusalem and we Samaritans have our way of doing things, were called the gelato works appear in Samaria on my garret is not what you think. What is it your Joe probably you think got a worship in Jerusalem. Jesus first of all establish the priority of God's revelation of the Jews. He has salvation is from the Jews and revealed himself to the Jews. That's the true God.

So he discounted the value of all the pagan religions, including that of Samaria, which was a clause Old Testament. Then he went on to say that he was bringing about a change because of his death that would open the way of salvation to everyone. Jew and Gentile alike because of what he did and he said in the future. People are going to worship either in Jerusalem nor on garrisoning but they're going to worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

None of what you have here in the Psalm should point out that it's not only inverse to which I mentioned, you also find it in the words of hope of all the ends of the earth. Verse five and those living far away. Fear your wonders. Verse eight, and it's worth noting also that this same emphasis is found in the next three songs you find it. Psalm 66 and 67 and also 68 so you have a little block of four songs here that are tied together by this universal note on the question since this has universal hinge to let how can sinful men and women use as well as Gentiles approach a holy God. How can sinners because that's what we are hoping to have their prayers answered. My daughter was holy answer of course is the atonement that is what is talk about here God providing a sacrifice by which an innocent victim bears the punishment of those were actually guilty. Plenty of passages in the Bible talk about the problem. Isaiah 59, one and two explains that problem rather classic language. It says shortly. The arm of the Lord is not too short to save nor his gear to dull the here but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, your sins have hidden his face from you so we will not hear sin causes God to hide his face from us the sacrifice. Sacrifice of atonement covers or tones with a sense of God can deal graciously with the center in the Hebrew language that worded atonement is actually the word culture, which means a covering, and specifically refers to the way the blood of the sacrifice was used to cover the Mercy seat on the ark of the covenant within the most holy place of the Jewish tabernacle and I'm sure the symbolism of black the ark was a box of the contain the law of Moses and on this lid of the ark. There were cherubim's wing stretched out worded often form the little space above the ark, and the Symbolic Way, God was understood to dwell there between the wings of the cherubim. Now that picture is a picture of judgment, a holy God. Looking down upon the law and the ark which you and I a broken God of the universe must do right. The holy God must judge sin. Then on the day of atonement. You see, that's the word on the day of atonement, the high priest came with the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled it up on the lid of the ark, thereby putting the evidence of the death of the innocent victim between the holy God and the broken law so the blood covered over the transgression, as it were. That's a picture by Jesus Christ is come to do this all must of course thinking of the day of atonement, and he says God gracious God is provided in atonement for our sin. We look back and we say yes and he's done it in Jesus Christ. That was the fulfillment of the Old Testament picture because of that. Now the way is open to God's presence. You recall that that most holy place of the tabernacle was shut off from view. Nobody can ever go in there except the high priest not only once a year and the day of atonement, but when Jesus Christ died on the cross God for that veil in two from top to bottom in the way was open because the atonement of been made been covered over only in the case of Jesus Christ and only been covered over, but it was worn away forever. Perhaps most striking thing about the way atonement is spoken of here is that it's describes something that God is done. Notice that the people who make atonement that's not even the priesthood makes atonement for you might perhaps understand the priest as being instrumental.

Rather, it is God.

Verse three you atonement for our transgressions. Why is that well is because God is exceedingly gracious. That's what the psalmist talking about Dave. Even the next verse speaks about it because it speaks of the one who is been brought near to God by virtue of the atonement now being blessed with every good thing we are filled with the good things of your house of your holy temple at verse sets up the rest of the soul because the Psalm is going to talk about how God blesses us with every good thing to give you a summary that first stanza. One of the commentators is named Stuart Perrone.

He summarizes it this way. It's worth reading in Zion. God is known where he is praised and worshiped. He is the hearer of prayer. That's his very character, and therefore all flesh comes to him all of the other weakness I'll need help and grace seek it in his hand is true they have thus come, the burden of sin upon them there iniquities rise up in all their strength and might and would trust them away from the presence of the holy one, but he himself in the plenitude of his mercy covers those iniquities.

He will not look upon them, and so suffer sinners to approach them. How blessed are they who thus reconciled, and pardoned, are suffered to draw nigh that my sadness may we ourselves be partakers may we be filled and satisfied with it all. That leads me to ask before we go on. Do you know that blessedness comes from God himself to what Marion Clark was talking about earlier tonight when he was giving his testimony. The blessedness that comes from knowing that Jesus Christ is born. Your sin to God himself has taken charge of your life will protect you and keep you and lead you and eventually bring a safe to have in your never going to know the other blessings until you first of all know that he is made atonement for your sin brings us to stanza two is one thing to know that God is gracious is quite another thing to know that he is also able to help out given illustration just in January. There was a earthquake issue not allowed in Southern California is a great deal of damage.there still trying to repair roads ways were destroyed buildings collapse buyers broke out that was flooding. I read one account of the man who lived in an apartment building where literally scores of people were trapped. He did what he could work strenuously for hours to freedom, and in time he freed about a dozen people that there was one man, he couldn't save and in the stress of that day the strong helpful man wept uncontrollably.

So you wanted to save the people that he couldn't save them all. Unfortunately is not like that with God.

God is gracious but is also mighty.

What that means is that his strength is more than equal to any gracious design.

He may have swept this second stanza is pointing out that vengeance three displays of God's power not remember his poetic and is also talking about nature. So these displays of God's power are expressed in this way, his power to seen first in the raising of the mountains. Secondly, and the calling of the sea and then thirdly drawing on that in the quieting of the nations, high mountains in the turbulent seas are some of the most awesome displays of nature that you and I can see, I suppose, until the space-age where we have caught a glimpse of the heavens them have been exposed to spectacular pictures of people never had before the mountains soaring in their walk. The grandeur of the seas. All their turbulence and even danger the most awesome things that men and women could see the seas quiet down after they have been raised.asked the question who controls the seas, mountains rise and their glory.

You say is raise the glory of the mountains by Lancers God because the Bible sees God as the cause of all facts or scientific agents or the loss that connection. We think in terms of immediate causes and because being in terms of immediate causes we think we understand everything ultimately but of course is the cause before the immediate causes and the causes God, and that's what the Bible has says they did not set themselves in the place or become firm and immovable. God established the mountains giving proof thereby that is guarded with power. They may talk about the seas. I didn't compose themselves. He says God called them the same thing is true of planting and harvest. This is where the storm is moving talk in the last stanza about God's blessing in nature. We say that to some of our hymns. I mentioned one of those harvest hymns earlier there's a way guys it was written by man name Matthias Claudius and translated by Jane Campbell on the last century. There is a verse says that we plow the fields and scatter the good seed of the land, but it is spanned and watered by Bob's Almighty hand he sends the snow in winter. Want to swell the grain. The breezes in the sunshine, soft, refreshing rain. That's why the Bible looks at it, you know, in the Bible. The seas are often used as an image for the nation's nations rising and falling away the sea rises and falls. I suppose it's because of that association that in the second stanza. David also talks about the nations. God raises the mountains and then he calms the seas and he says yes. He also homes the nation's way of saying that God is the only one who can ever really get peace on peace treaties at the coming of this world statesman only got that's why it is right to pray for peace Bible says explicitly pray for the peace of Jerusalem is right to pray for peace because God is the only one who can give it, and we need to live righteously.

So we will be a people that God will grant peace to a verse eight says that the report of God's work spread throughout the earth, to all people and that this calls for songs of joy all bonds of joy or some sometimes but more often than not, archons are silent when we come in to the last stanza, for which the two previous dances have preparedness and it's about the people's harvest tells us that God, who has been gracious making atonement for our sins and who is writing and displays his strength in nature as last nature by having it abundance which we live. First thing it talks about is God's caring for the land by watering now, but difficult for us to appreciate that because we live in well watered lands, and we have too much water and we have flooding and we got a wish we had a little bit less.

Very seldom have that problem in Bible lands the very arid place and so when God bless the land with water.

It was literally blessing of life rather than death. Because of the rings didn't come the crops didn't grow the crops to grow the people didn't have anything to eat, and they died.

Now it's hard for most of us to appreciate that some points at which a writer of the Psalms it really be a farmer or who has we spent some time in the country.

I have a great disadvantage.

At that point because I haven't done it so I come to this last stands and I say all you really enter into this and have that feeling for nature the true country person what happens. CS Lewis talked about it. How do you appreciate nature like a vegetable. Well you have to do your best you can and as I read the stanza about the water. I do remember being high in the Alps at one time in the spring shortly after the passes have been opened after the winter snows sitting in the fresh Alpine meadow where millions of wild mountain flowers were beginning to open their multicolored petals to the sun person might think that I am the Alps would be dry because we think of water we think of the ocean, lakes, mighty rivers, that sort of thing. Don't think way up in the mountains would be very wet, but as a matter of fact, it is particularly in the spring and that's what impressed me all these little tiny twisting mountain rivulets that literally laced Meadows hard to walk through those mountain pastors without stepping in the water was actually so went up there and I remember thinking that it really wasn't evidence of God's abundant blessing on the land. I didn't know what Psalm 65 was about the time but if I had known that I could have said quite well and wisely you care for the land and water. If you enrich it abundantly.

The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain for so you have ordained that you drench sparrows and level its ridges. You soften it with showers and blessings crops farmer lived in the country. Maybe you have some sense what that is not also the crops. That's what verse 10 mentions in the same way unless you been a farmer you can hardly appreciate this. The joy that a farmer has, looking out on the fields which he is planted in watching the rising rows of soybean, corn or other grains, stretching out beautifully in the sun.

Many farmer works farmer works very apartment is not the farmer who makes the seed grow God and believing farmer looks out senses something of the abundance and power and grace of God in that blessing relevant to give you one more experience I have to dig a little bit to get close to nature, but I do remember an experience when I was a boy being invited to spend the afternoon and have dinner with friends of my family who owned a small farm was August was a field of corn that was just ready to be harvest as a matter of fact we had corn that afternoon that was freshly picked from the fields and what I remember most was walking with my friends down the rows of corn in the middle of the field. We were sort of cut off from everything else in the office of the field was immense and almost endless. It was another world, beautiful, wonderful hero world entirely separate from the predictable normal world in which we lived was like diving under the ocean being with the fish being high up in the mountains where you escaped all of the other experiences of life and I remember thinking a little bit that it is amazing the abundance God gives well that's what David is talking about. We may be because of our Western industrialized organize world remote from it.

We still eat the food. God makes a grow and we should at least to some extent, be thankful on the last line of the psalmist striking an unexpected because after having described how God has watered the earth and caused it to bring forth and bud. David suddenly says that the Meadows Valley's blocks and grain all shout for joy and sing lots of poetic fallacy. Of course, Meadows and valleys and flocks of grain do not shout or saying or do anything else that only self-conscious particular personalities go, but in their harvest splendor. They seem to, which is what David is saying and is a matter of fact, if they could cry out, literally they would do it because you remember the time of his entrance into Jerusalem. Jesus said the Pharisees wanted him to rebuke his disciples for their praise if they keep quiet stones will cry out here is David with the eyes of faith and spiritual vision looking on the fields in the grain in the Meadows and saying they shout for joy and sing the bottom line of that is that that's what you and I should do with inanimate objects literally can't praise God we should.

And of course that is exactly the way the next song began to notice the connection. The last line of Psalm 65 they shout for joy and sing first verse of Psalm 66 shout with joy to God all the earth and the next verse sing the glory of his name. That's what were going to do right and sing a hymn number 372, which is based on Psalm 65 translation of it were going to do it soon as we pray. Father, we thank you that we have had time to study the song together, and though it expresses the experience of life that most of us are remote from, and few have entered into deeply.

Nevertheless, points together was the gracious and powerful God who has displayed this toward the children of man we are among the men we are recipients of that blessing our father as we sing we pray you give us grace to do it well because we know the one from whom all these great gifts, we pray in Jesus, thank you for listening to this message of the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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