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1367. Infinite, Yet Intimate

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
October 25, 2022 7:00 pm

1367. Infinite, Yet Intimate

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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October 25, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit concludes a chapel series entitled “Encountering God,” with a message from  Psalm 139.

The post 1367. Infinite, Yet Intimate appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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J.D. Greear
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Abidan Shah
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Pastor Rick Gaston

Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.

The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel Platform. Today on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series entitled Encountering God, which is a study of select chapters in the book of Psalms. I want to read to you this morning Psalm 139, verse 1 and verse 23 and 24, and then squeeze between that, of course, is the rest of the psalm, which we will look at this morning. But I want to read this for both times sake, but also to see that the psalmist here, David, begins and ends the psalm the same basic way. Notice what he says in verse 1. He says, oh Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. So he's making a statement of fact, Lord, you've searched me and known me. And now he concludes with a response to what he knows about God. He says in verse 23, search me, oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. That is this, that prayer is actually opening yourself up to what you've learned about God. And that's an important thing to learn throughout the process of your life. Prayer is really opening yourself up to the knowledge of what God has revealed about himself.

And then verse 24, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me, and the way everlasting. Now I think we all realize today that we're living in a world, maybe we realize that or not, that we, you, all of us, are experiencing something that has never been experienced before in world history. And that is that we all have become emotionally close to, or we have bonded with certain brands. That is things that have been invented because of technology. And we call that brand intimacy. What are the top three brands in the world today? Number one, the first brand is Apple. The second brand is Amazon. And the third brand is Google, who owns YouTube, by the way, just to let you know. Now that's in the world today, but what about among college students?

Because maybe you're sitting there going, eh, maybe, not so much. So what are the top three brands among college students? Number one, Amazon. Number two, Netflix. Number three, Nike, I'm sorry, I got them wrong backwards. Nike is number two, Netflix is number three, and I'll throw in there Apple, TikTok, and Chick-fil-A.

All right, so anyway, we have them going on all the time at campus. So the idea of intimacy is something you feel close to, something you're familiar with, something that would be your friend. So how can Amazon be a friend because you get a gift card, or you get a box in the mail? How can Chick-fil-A be your friend because you go there to eat?

How can Nike be your friend because you wear it, or you put it on? And these are things in our life that we encounter, we come into relationship with these things. Well, this semester our theme has been entitled encountering God, a study in the Psalms. And I believe that it is through the Psalms that we have a direct link up to God. Psalms is like a spiritual IV that immediately connects to the bloodline of your soul. You could say the Psalms are your experiences of life that become immediately connected to the presence and the nature of God. So over this weekend, there was one particular Psalm that I linked up to. And I read, and I prayed yesterday morning in a hotel in Hartford, Connecticut, and I prayed that particular Psalm.

Because it is through the Psalms that we develop a closeness or an intimacy with God. So this morning we're looking at Psalm 139 where King David is writing a compelling description of our omnigod, our God who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. He is beyond anything we could ever imagine. God is beyond us. He is transcendent. We can't comprehend Him.

We can't get our arms around here. Our mind cannot really grasp Him. And so in one way, since He is beyond us, it would be hard for us to be close to Him. But at the same time, the Bible reveals that God is imminent.

He is close to us. We understand God because He became a human, Jesus. We know God because His Spirit comes to live inside of us, and He reveals Himself to us by His Spirit through His Word. So what is Psalm 139 all about? It is all about this infinite God who is intimate with His own people.

And so that's what I want to speak about this morning. That is the infinite who is yet intimate. We're going to look at Psalm 139 this morning and see this, and at the end we'll see David's response with a strong reaction and a humble request. And so we begin with what David tells us about God.

And I want you to see three things. Number one, he tells us what God knows. Look at verse one. Oh Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Like a mining company looks for gold deep in the earth, so God searches the depths of our hearts and minds. This includes my thinking and my feelings because all feelings are a result of thoughts.

You don't feel then think, you think then you feel. And God is intimately and thoroughly acquainted with your feelings. He knows what you felt when you came into chapel this morning. When David says he knows me, the Hebrew word for know is the word yada. And it is the idea of the deepest intimacy of life.

It's the relationship between a husband and a wife in their intimacy. He knows me inside and out. God knows you better than you know yourself because he has numbered the hairs of your head. So what do we say about God? He's omniscient.

The word omnis means all. He knows all things. There is nothing hidden from God.

He says in verse 2, thou knowest my down, sitting in my uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. God knows us like nobody else. He sees us when we get up in the morning. He sees you when you go to bed at night, and he knows everything that happens in between.

He sees the good, he sees the bad, and he sees the ugly. God is a mind reader. He knows not only your thoughts, but he knows what controls your thoughts. He knows what drives you. He knows your life's motivations. He even knows where our thoughts start, and he knows where our thoughts will end. Look at verse 3. Thou compasses my path and my lying down, and art equated with all my ways.

The word compasses means to win a wheat, like when the chaff is being separated from the wheat. The answer is that God not only knows me, but he scrutinizes me. He looks at your life, and he sees where you're going. He sees what your intentions and your heart is.

He knows if you're going the right way or not. God is acquainted with your habits and your patterns of behavior. You know the statement, you reap what you sow. And sowing has to do with choices and actions, and reaping is with consequences.

And God knows the consequences of all of your actions, and look at verse 4, for there's not a word in my tongue, but lo, oh, Lord, thou knowest it altogether. God already knows what you're going to say before the words come out of your mouth, because he knows the words that are forming in your mind. Do we all say what we think, yes or no? Do we all say what we think, yes or no?

The answer is no. How many of you are about to say something and you didn't say it? How many of you thought something really bad and you didn't say it? But God knows what we're going to say, but he also knows all the thoughts that precede that.

And it is a shocking reality. Jesus said, every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the days of judgment. That's why for most of us, we need to speak less and listen more. God knows my ways, God knows my walk, and God knows my words. Verse 5, thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Literally it reads, you hem me in behind him before. Like a city that is surrounded by an enemy and under siege with no place to escape, God is all around us. God is behind us, God is beside us, God is above us, God is below us, and God is in front of us. Everywhere we go, he is.

This past weekend we flew up to Hartford, Connecticut to do services yesterday in Hartford. And I was thinking as we were flying up how that when we, before he got on the plane, God was with us, when we got in the plane, God was with us, when we landed on the ground, God was with us. He was beside us, he was above us, he was below us, he was before us, he was behind us everywhere we are, God is. And it says here, he places his hand upon us so that even if we try to escape his presence, we can't.

I don't know if this happened to you when you were a little kid, but an adult puts their hand on top of your head and you try to run away from them and they just kind of hold your head and move you around like that. God has placed his hand upon all of us, and we can't escape him. Verse 6, such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain unto it. What God knows about us blows our mind. And God is incredibly, mysteriously, and incomprehensibly omniscient. And we worship a God that we cannot understand, and that is a great thing. That God is beyond us, and we bow down and worship him. So we learn of what God knows, this is what David is telling us. Then notice number two, he tells us where God goes. Verse 7, whether shall I go from thy spirit or whether shall I flee from thy presence?

David asked two questions, and they have the same answer. Question number one, can I avoid God? Question number two, can I go somewhere where he's not?

And the answer to both questions is the answer, no. You cannot avoid God. If you try to run away from God you will discover that God is already where you are going. That means that not only is God all-knowing, but God is all-present.

He is omnipresent. Look at verse 8, in verse 8 David begins to make three statements concerning God's presence in extreme places. He says, if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I go to heaven, God is there.

If I go down to the underworld, God is there. If I take wings and fly, how many have you ever wanted to put wings on your back and just fly away? Have you ever wanted to do that? How many ever wanted to just kind of fly away from Bob Jones?

Believe me, I wish I had wings on days. And yet it doesn't matter where we fly, if we fly to the corner of the universe in light speed. God has already been there to guide you and protect you. And notice what he says in verse 11, he says, if I say, surely the darkness shall cover me and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to you. We all try to hide, everybody here tries to hide. Everybody here tries to keep secrets so that nobody knows about, well God knows about all your secrets. We try to hide in the dark, but darkness has no effect on God's vision. The darkness is not darkness to God. So David talks about what God knows, he talks about where God goes. And then notice number three, he talks about what God does. In verse 13, he says, for thou has possessed my reigns, thou has covered me in my mother's womb. David here stands in all of the simplest and the most complex thing that God has ever done, and that is he has made human beings.

He says you have formed my inward parts, that's what the word reigns means. You have knitted me together in my mother's womb. Have you ever noticed that there are no atheists in the maternity ward of the hospital? I mean you never see a nurse say, oh that's a cute little organic blob of tissue. They don't say that.

What a cute boy, what a cute girl. And David uses terms here that speaks to his inner parts, and specifically the idea is his kidneys. And what David is saying is that when we are formed in our mother's womb, we are skillfully woven and knitted together within our major organs.

I started thinking about that this weekend. God has given me a heart. I've never seen my heart. Have you ever seen your heart?

You got one. God has given you lungs. God has given you a stomach, some bigger than others. God has given you intestines, guts. God has given you a liver. God has given you kidneys. And none of those things we have ever seen, but aren't you glad that they all work together for good?

What would we be like if those things were not working? And David said, I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. We have been made wonderfully by our God, who is named by Isaiah as wonderful. And then he says in verse 15, my substance was not hid from thee.

The word substance there is referring to his bones, his skeletal frame. He said, when I was made in secret and curiously ralled in the lower parts of the earth, he says I was intricately woven in fashion and secret in my mother's womb. And God has embroidered me with muscles and veins and nerves and bones. And he has woven together this tapestry that makes a human being. And we come out.

And here we are. I have a picture here of two of my four grandsons. The one on the left is Judah, and the one on the right is Shiloh.

Now that's a few years ago. They're older now. The oldest one is in the first grade, and the second one is in K-5. They're called Irish twins because they were born essentially the same year.

So one has a birthday one day, and the other one has a birthday the day before. And they are like totally different. On the left is, on the right is Shiloh.

Shiloh is like bulky, he's thick. You know, he looks like he ought to be in the WWE or something. He's got that look about him, you know? And his personality is so different. He's very thoughtful. He asks, he asks the most amazing questions.

It's like it's amazing what comes out of this kid's mind. But he's also sneaky, and he likes to play tricks on you. His brother Judah is like the opposite. He's like he's got air in his bones. He's light, he runs fast, he laughs, and he is super sensitive. And he is very caring about other people's emotions. And I look at these two guys, and we've got two more.

We've got one named Luca, and the youngest one named is Sonny. Sonny is just a blob of flesh. And he has one thing on his mind, it's called food. Food and Moana.

That's the only two things on his mind. And what is so amazing is to watch them as they grow and they develop. And you see in them this amazing element of the creation of God. And look at what he says in verse 16. He says, and the word substance there is the word embryo, yet being unperfect.

And in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. What is David saying here? He is saying that God sees him as an unformed embryo. Before he was ever conceived, God had already written in his book all the days that David would live on the earth, including when he was born, how long he would live, when he would die, and what he would accomplish.

Think about that. Jeremiah said it this way, before I formed thee in the belly, God said to Jeremiah, I knew thee. And before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Has that ever gripped you of God's knowledge of you and his purposes and plans for your life? Our entire lives are shaped by the hand of God. There is no clearer statement in all the Bible that life begins at conception. You are just as much a person when you are a fetus as when you are at birth at full term.

The only difference is time and growth. And so David sums his thoughts up concerning the omniscience, and the omnipresence, and the omnipotence, the all power of God when he says in verse 17, how precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God, and how great is the sum of them. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee. What David is saying is this, that all of these thoughts have a practical benefit for me. What's the benefit?

Let me put it in modern language. The benefit is this. When I understand what God is like, it can only help me in my mental health. It brings comfort. It brings stability.

And it brings security. There's a graduate here of Bob Jones University who lives down the street from me. His name is Dan Hamilton.

Dan is not only a graduate of Bob Jones University, but he's a graduate of the Academy. He was a South Carolina state senator. He actually ran for U.S. Congress to replace Trey Gowdy here in the upstate of South Carolina. He lost in the race, and he started a realty company here in Greenville called Keller Williams. He's the leader of it.

He's a great guy. But Dan has an amazing story. You see, he was adopted into the family, the Hamilton family here in the Greenville area, and his birth mother was an unwed teenage mother who lived in Miami, Florida. And when she conceived Dan in her womb, at the same time, she was diagnosed with cancer. And she wanted her baby to be born, and she wanted him to grow up in a Christian home. And so she made a life-changing decision.

She decided to take no chemotherapy because she wanted her son to live. And so after she gave birth to Dan, nine months after her birth, she passed away. And I remember hearing Dan telling his life story, and I was so moved to tears to see how God had so led in his life, and it had produced in his heart a great sense of God's control over his life. He asked me this morning, how are you doing? I said, my times are in his hands, Psalm 31.15. You know, for most of us, our emotions are like a yo-yo up and down, and we don't have the kind of thoughts that bring stability and strength. And this is what Psalm 139 is all about. Because God is not only infinite beyond us, but he is intimate.

He is close to us. This is what God is saying in this Psalm. Let this Psalm run over you like a hot shower runs over the top of your head and your whole body. And so David says at the conclusion of this Psalm, how he's going to respond. What's his response?

And number one, he gives a very strong reaction. Look at verse 19. He says, surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God. Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? I would say these words are pretty harsh.

It's not typical words we say. Yet what David is doing here is he's drawing a sharp dividing line between himself and those who intend on doing evil. These are those who hate God, the wicked, the malicious, the blasphemous, and the rebellious. And what David is essentially saying is this, that as we grow in the knowledge of God, we also should grow in our hatred of sin. If you love sin, you hate God. If you hate sin, you love God. If you are developing an appetite for sin, then you are drifting away from God. But the closer you get to God, the further you get away from sin. And so what David is saying is my knowledge of God actually works in my heart in such a way that I want to run from sin, not run to sin. And this is David's response to this knowledge. The greatest way to be sanctified and be made holy is in the intimate relationship we all have with God. The closer we get to God, the further we get from sin. And then notice finally his humble request. He says, search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.

See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. If God is this intimately acquainted with David, then David realizes there's one thing he has to bring to the table, and that is he has to be totally transparent before God. Do you ever stop to think that confession of sin is simply saying to God what God already knows about you? It's not like you confess your sin and God goes, man, I didn't know you did that. And transparency is a place of humility before God.

And once I stand before God and understand who he is and know that he loves me, I want to be open and transparent and completely confess my sin before God and humility. And in a sense, David comes to God and he says, God, don't leave me alone, but stay close to me. This is what Psalms does for us.

It draws us in, gives us the knowledge of God and sanctifies our hearts that we may love him in a more deeper and intimate way. Lord, we thank you for your word. We thank you that we are made to bow before you because of who you are. We thank you that your thoughts are way beyond what we could ever think. And yet, Lord, give us greater thoughts of yourself as we meditate on your word. And thank you that you have known us and you have searched us, in Jesus' name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University, from the study series, Encountering God, which is a study from the book of Psalms. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. Please come visit our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina, and see how God is working in the lives of our students. For more information about Bob Jones University, visit or call 800-252-6363. Thanks for listening, and join us again tomorrow as we continue this study of Psalms here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-06 05:31:30 / 2022-11-06 05:37:12 / 6

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