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Week from today, you'll be starting classes tomorrow again after your good break, and I hope you get a lot of rest. But my challenge is to you, I wanna hand this to you on a silver platter, I wanna give you a couple of navigational parameters through this psalm, and then I wanna ask you to meditate and spend time with God, and walk with God, and talk to God, and pour out your heartaches and your burdens and your stresses to Him in light of this psalm. So, I would summarize the psalm this way. It's about letting God write the story. It's about the propensity that all of us have to wanna write our own script, which is just a recipe for disappointment with God.
Because we really can't control the narrative, we can't control the outcomes or the results. We can control our choices, we can control whether we cooperate with God or not, whether we obey Him or not, but the outcomes, the results are really up to God. Where this story goes in your life and mine is really up to God. So this psalm is about letting God write the story. And I would summarize it in three statements, and I wanna give them to you right now. First of all, verses one and two summarize the big story, the only story worth living.
Look at it with me. By the way, I'm gonna warn you, everybody loves verses one and two of this psalm, and everybody loves verses 12 through 17 of this psalm, but very few people love verses three through 11, okay? So buckle up and read along with me.
Follow along. Lord, Moses writing now, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations, before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Would you read those two verses with me? And let's lift up our voices, ready? Read them out loud, ready, go. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations, before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
This is the big story. And Moses realized, as he traveled through life like a leaf on a river, never being able to control the twists and turns and bends of the river, only being able to basically cooperate with the ride that God was taking him on, Moses learned, God, I don't have a home. Egypt isn't my home. I don't know if I'm Hebrew or Egyptian.
I don't know if I'm a slave or royalty. I don't know if the promised land or Egypt or the wilderness is my home. God, I'm a wanderer, I'm a pilgrim, and I've learned on this journey of 120 years, I do have a home, and it's you.
Amen. Lord, you are our dwelling place, and in that word dwelling place is the word home. And it's home in the sense that you feel when you go home. I don't know how many of you are going home in a couple of days, but there's something about, I'll never forget the first time I went home during my freshman year of college, hardest year of my life, still to this day, hardest year of my life, including my battle with cancer, and including taking the leadership of a dying church.
My first year of college, brutal. And I remember Thanksgiving, getting home, getting off the plane, getting into the car, kicking back in the backseat of that minivan, and seeing the wallet in the back pocket of my father, and thinking, I'm home. It's all good. I'm safe. Everything's okay. So Moses says, God, you're my home. When nothing else is okay, you're home. I run to you, I'm at home with you, I'm safe with you, I'm accepted by you, I'm safe in your care, and I'm home.
And guys, I don't care if it's COVID, or cancer, or a loss of a loved one, or just a really hard season in college, or breakup, or whatever's coming undone in your life that was in your script, you have a home. You can run to him, his arms are open, he will be your home, and for all generations, generations preceding you, generations following you, there's a big story before you and I ever were, there's everlasting to everlasting. And God is writing a story in time and space, and he wrote you into it, and he wrote me into it, and one of the great ways to navigate life, and to navigate hardship and unpredictable turns in the script is to remember, wait a minute, God's the author of the story, not me, and he's my home, no matter what happens, he's gonna hold me, secure me, and get me through this. There is a way to release the story you were trying to write and to flourish in the story that God is writing. But it really takes this release that Moses is kind of describing here, God, you're the author, you're the everlasting to everlasting, you're the one that spoke all this into existence. I'm not gonna continue striving against you to write my small story, I'm gonna release the pen, I'm gonna relinquish my rights and any rights I have to write my own story, and God, I'm gonna cooperate like a leaf on a river, I'm gonna fall into your story, and I'm gonna follow your story as you write it in my life, and I'm gonna trust you in it and flourish in it.
And guys, that's the bigger story, okay? The story I wanted to write with my life was so much smaller than the story God has ended up writing in my life, okay? And the journey he took me on, so much more surprising, so much more intricate, so much more delightful than I had imagined. So it's the only story worth living, is the story God writes. Well, the next thing that Moses says is that this story is harder than we imagine. So he takes us, it's almost like verses one and two, he puts us in a rocket and shoots us up into the atmosphere and we get a satellite view of all of time and space and all of our life. And it does our heart so much good because we get stuck in the minutia of midterms and short-term relationships and short-term trials, and verses one and two take us way up and say, hey, here's the big view. You belong to a God who loves you and he's always home for your heart and no matter where life takes you or what life does to you, you can rest in him. But Moses begins to unfold in verses three through 11, basically an Old Testament ancient view of the gospel.
And it sounds really dark, but let me summarize it and then we'll read it. He basically, in verses three to 11, helps us cope or helps us reckon, that's a better word, not cope, reckon. He helps us settle into the realities of life in a fallen world, the realities of life in a broken planet on a messy place called Earth. And he's gonna say in these verses, life is shorter than we imagine, it is harder than we imagine that it will be, and it's also more desperate than we know because we are under God's wrath.
Now, we know the rest of the story. We know the resurrected Christ. We know how God provided salvation and Moses did too to some degree. We'll see that in verse 13. But in these first section of this psalm, he's gonna unpack some what feel like heavy or dark realities, but they're not really dark, they're just true. And the more we can reckon and build our lives on truth, the more solid and stable our lives will be.
So let's see what he says, real quickly. For a thousand years are in thy sight, I'm sorry, for a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it's past and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood.
There as asleep in the morning, they're like grass which groweth up. Moses is, I think, referring to the generation that's past now. An entire generation has been swept off of the wilderness and has died and another generation has replaced them. And it's as if Moses is saying, hey, think about life for a minute because every 80 to 90 or 100 years, not a single person is alive on planet earth that was alive 100 years ago.
It's an entirely new group of people. So one generation at a time is basically swept away by God. And then he continues to talk about life as being so brief, verse six. In the morning, it's like grass. It flourisheth, grows up.
In the evening, it's cut down and withereth. And then it gets worse, verse seven. He says, we're consumed by thine anger, by thy wrath are we troubled. Now, by right now, the reader is going, wait a minute, is God my home or is he angry at me?
Which is it? And he continues to unfold, basically, a Romans three understanding of life. We are fallen under God's glory, from God's glory in sin and we're condemned. And we all kind of go through life with a sense, until we're saved, a sense of God's anger, a sense of justice, a sense of wrath that is due to us. Verse eight, he says, you've set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins, in the light of thy countenance. You know everything about us, God.
How could you be home to us? How could you ever accept us, knowing us as we are, knowing us for who we really are? He says in verse nine, I'm paraphrasing, it seems like our whole life, our days, every day is passed under your anger, or as a tale that is told. It just all goes by so quickly. Is there any meaning to any of it?
It's almost like he's asking. For our days, verse 10, the days of our years, our three score and 10, and by reason of strength, in other words, the best life, the strongest, the healthiest person, they be four score, 80 years, yet is their strength, labor, and sorrow. Now, again, don't let this be a dark reality, but let it be a true reality. Hey, God says, just like Jesus, in the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. You see, you're fooling yourself, and I'm fooling myself, if we think that our God is merely an escape mechanism from life's hard stuff.
He's not. He's a great source of strength and comfort and hope. He works all things together for good, but you're gonna be sorely disappointed in life and God if you don't reckon with these realities that even the best life is hard.
Even the best life is full of hard work, and it's eventually gonna have some sorrow that's just built in to life on a broken planet. Say, this guy's not encouraging me. All right, I've got a few minutes left. And we're gonna turn the corner to encouragement because Moses, look what he says. Verse 11, God, your anger is massive, but verse 12. What's the first word of verse 12?
Shout it out to me. So, see how he set us up. He shot us in a rocket into a satellite view.
God is awesome. He's home for our hearts. He wants to be home. He wants to be a father and a safe place and a refuge, and he's writing a story that stretches from everlasting to everlasting, and he's written us into it, and from generation to generation, he's the same. He is writing the story, and he is carrying us forward through this life, and reality says life is short.
It's gonna fly by. Life is hard. There's gonna be a lot of hard work and a lot of sorrow, and we come into life kind of condemned and ostracized, alienated from God, and we need our relationship with him to be restored. So Moses now turns a corner, and everything he says in verses 12 forward are how to respond, how to find joy and flourishing and wholeness and happiness and purpose and significance in a life that is otherwise so brief, and without God, it would be so dark and so hopeless.
So let's see what he says. So teach us. So teach us, and I just want to pause there because we always fly into that verse. Teach us to number our days, and we start thinking about making plans and calendarizing things, but could you just pause for a minute and stop and think about the power of the words, so teach us, and I can tell you, in my journey with God, the script that God is writing has continually brought me to challenges that were far beyond me, far outside, way out of my depth, way over my head, and over and over in life, I've been going, wait a minute, how did I get here, and God, you chose the wrong guy, and this was nowhere in my script, and these prayers encouraged me because so many times in my life, I've had to throw up my arms and look up and say, God, teach me, I don't know how to lead a church through COVID, I don't know how to keep a church family encouraged during such a divisive political and social time in our country. God, I need you to teach me, and if I stop there, how awesome would it be to know all the way through life, whatever you face, for the next hundred years, if Jesus doesn't come back, you have a home in God, and you have a coach, you have a teacher who's gonna walk with you into every circumstance and prepare you and teach you in every one of them. He says, teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. God, more than anything else, in the challenges of my life, I need you to teach me so that I can apply my hearts, my heart to your wisdom. God, I need wisdom to step through these challenges your way.
Well, it gets better. He asks God in verses 13 and 14 for compassion. He asks him to turn back in favor. It's a foreshadowing of the gospel. Return, oh Lord, how long, and let it repent thee.
Lord, pity us, turn your heart back towards us. Let it repent thee concerning thy servants. And then verse 14 is a picture of the gospel.
Oh, satisfy us early with thy mercy. Here it is, Moses knows, in verse one, God is his home. But he knows in verses three through 11, he has no access to God because of his sin.
He has only, he is only the object of God's wrath. And so by verse 14, Moses says, God, if I'm ever gonna really know you as home, if I can ever approach you, if I can ever have a relationship with you, it's going to be on the basis of your mercy. And so God, every day I wanna wake up, and even though life is hard and filled with sorrow and the world is a broken place, I can wake up knowing you are my home and knowing I am the object of your mercy. And knowing that you can satisfy all of my dreams, all of my desires, all of my hopes and wishes, you can satisfy all the needs of my heart with nothing more than your mercy. And we know this from a New Testament lens to be Jesus. We know him to be the fullest expression of God's mercy in what he did on the cross and his presence in our life.
I loved Adrienne's prayer a moment ago, and all the way she prayed how the gospel and Jesus and the Spirit of God are working on our behalf and in our lives. We are the objects of God's mercy. And Moses says, satisfy me with that, God. Let me wake up every day and be satisfied with your mercy.
Look at the rest of verse 14. That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. There's the source of joy. There's the source of gladness. And he continues, make us glad according to the days wherein you've afflicted us.
God, swing the pendulum. Overwhelm us with the goodness and gladness and joy of your mercy, and let that outsize all of our sorrow and outsize all of the hard days of life. And verse 16, let thy work appear unto thy servants and thy glory unto their children. God, I will have joy in you, and I would love to see you at work around me. I would love to see a pinhole of light.
Where are you at work? What's one way you're using me? What's one way others are seeing your glory through my life? And I love verse 17. Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.
Think about that. In the darkness of this world, God, let me wake up knowing your beauty is on me and reflecting that beauty to those around me. And then he says, establish now the work of our hands. This has got all the answers for life, for the story that is, and third point is better than we dreamed. This is the only story worth living. It's harder than we imagined, but it is better than we dreamed. Because of mercy, life can be explosively joyful. It can be deeply purposeful. It can be fruitful.
It can be more durable than we ever dreamed. The ultimate and only answer to life, to a flourishing life, is surrender. God, I'm gonna quit trying to write my own story, and I'm gonna go with you in the story you're writing. Lose your story in his. Let go of the life you wanted to live and embrace the one you now have. Embrace the one that by God's grace he's writing through you. Enter into the story that God is writing instead of struggling through life, trying to get God to make the story you're writing come true. When you enter into his story, everything changes. He becomes home.
His mercy becomes incredibly satisfying, joyful, abundant, glad. His work, you engage in day by day, and you hand off that kind of meaning to the next generation. And it is simply the best way to live, and that's why he says, establish thou the work of our hands.
Establish it. God, make it durable, make it meaningful, make it fruitful. Use us in this short life to do something that matters from everlasting to everlasting. So guys, let God write your story.
It takes a lot of pressure off of you. Let's have our heads bowed. God, thank you for this time. Thank you for your mercy, your grace. Thank you that Moses went before us and showed us how to follow you and let you write the story. We'll try and try and try, and we'll just keep getting frustrated and more frustrated that life isn't cooperating.
But when we release the pressure, put down the pen and follow you, you write a more beautiful story than we could ever have dreamed. I pray that these students will take this Psalm and meditate on it these next five, six, seven days. In Jesus' name, we pray.
Amen. You've been listening to a message preached by Dr. Kerry Schmidt, senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newington, Connecticut. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. If you're looking for a regionally accredited Christian liberal arts university, I invite you to consider BJU, which is purposely designed to inspire a lifelong pursuit of learning, loving, and leading. For more information about Bob Jones University, visit bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. Join us again tomorrow as we'll hear more messages preached from the Bob Jones University Chapel Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-22 00:06:03 / 2023-05-22 00:16:30 / 10