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God Made Me (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
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July 4, 2023 4:00 am

God Made Me (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 4, 2023 4:00 am

It’s easy to glorify God on joyous days, in victories, or when everything seems to fall into place. Is God still praiseworthy, though, in the midst of the messy, traumatic events of life? Explore the answer with us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

It's a whole lot easier to glorify God on days that are full of joy. Your joy and your victory is when everything seems to be falling nicely into place. But is God still praiseworthy in the midst of the messy, traumatic events of our lives? Of course He is, and today we'll explore why on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg is teaching from Psalm 139.

We're looking today at verses 13 through 18. You knitted me. You wove me.

There's nothing random about this. And all of this you've done in secret. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, in the depths of the earth.

What does he mean by that? Well, I think it's just a metaphor, in the place of unknowing. When I was safe within my mother's womb, your eyes saw my unformed substance. Spurgeon says of this, he says, the psalmist had scarcely peered within the veil, which hides the nerves, the sinews, the blood vessels from common inspection. Incidentally, Spurgeon couldn't even approximate to the knowledge that we have now in the twenty-first century in terms of human anatomy.

But he says the science of anatomy was quite unknown to him, and yet he had seen enough to arouse his admiration of the work and his reverence for the worker. You know, it's pretty impossible, I think, for a person to be present for the arrival of a child when it comes in the immediacy of that moment and go, Are you kidding me? Look at this! That's what he's saying. You did this. You formed. You knitted. You contrived.

You made me. And your eyes saw my unformed substance. In other words, God was doing ultrasounds long before we found ultrasounds.

Every scientific discovery for good is a discovery of that which God in his infinite wisdom has made possible by his creative design. You see what he's saying here? Even when my mom didn't know that I was there, you knew I was there. When I was embryonic, when that little thing had happened down there. And she didn't even know. She didn't know.

But you knew, because you were responsible for that. That's what he's saying. Well, you see, this is not exactly a very scientific explanation of things, is it?

No, of course it's not. It's a very good explanation of things. I don't expect… Some of you are medics, and there is a certain answer to the question that you're asked.

For example, I would like you to explain in our next tutorial the formation of the fetus. Now, we don't expect that the Christian medic says, Oh, that's easy, Psalm 139 verses 13 and following. But we do expect that the Christian medic actually believes that.

That's not the scientific explanation, but that is the underlying reality. God is at work. Psalm 127.

We often share it, don't we, when we have occasion to write a card to somebody who's become a parent for the first time? Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. God has done this. God has put me together, he says, with a unique purpose. Think about David's life as well.

He's a shepherd, he's a soldier, he's a poet, he's whatever he is. And he recognizes he didn't come into existence by accident, and neither did any one of us. The Christian affirms that this is an act of God. That from eternity, he purposed that this would be the case.

There are no mistakes. God from eternity gladly giving life, deliberately bringing each of us into being. Now, we need to teach this to our children.

It's a fair question. Where was I before I was born? You were nowhere before you were born.

We're not Hindus. You were nowhere before you were born. You were put together, woven, knitted intricately in an amazing way in your mom's tummy. And God did this, because he wanted you here, right now, today, to be you.

Now, the children need to learn this. And I was tempted to suggest that we would finish with one of my favorite songs. If I Were a Butterfly. It's a theological wonder, this song, you know? If I were a butterfly, I'd thank you, Lord, for giving me wings. And if I were a robin in the tree, I'd thank you, Lord, that I could sing. And if I was a fish in the sea, I'd wiggle my tail and I'd giggle with glee, but I'd just thank you, Father, for making me me.

Because you gave me a heart, and you gave me a smile, and you gave me Jesus, and you made me your child, and I just thank you, Father, for making me me. I'm not as tall as I'd like to be. I'm not as bright as I'd like to be. I'm not, I'm not, whatever, whatever, whatever. I'm not like, I'm not, I'm not, I am, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. You are God's perfect design for you. That's what he's saying.

That's either true, or it's a flat-out lie. Either we live in chaos or we live under the all-seeing eye of the God of Psalm 139. And if you are making your way through life without a sensible answer to those questions—Where did I come from?

What am I? Where am I going?—then, let me encourage you to look carefully at the way in which Scripture addresses all of that. You designed me. And then, just secondly, and you determined my days. That's really verse 16, isn't it? Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and your book were written, every one of them, before they came to be, the days that were formed for me. I find that a harder translation than the NIV. The NIV says, All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Before one of them came to be. All the days. So, from embryonic to the very end of life and beyond, you are in sovereign control. Now, you see what a difference this makes to really every aspect of our lives. Many of us wrestle with anxiety. Some of us are sometimes almost paralyzed by these things. And we need the help of the companionship of God's people. We need the instruction of God's Word. We need the encouragement of God's Spirit to come to us in the watches of the night and remind us of these things. We all have to feel so put about that we feel these very things.

After all, Jesus addressed his own disciples who were within his company—who watched him, who listened to him, who saw him perform miracles. And yet he says to them, Why which of you, by being anxious, can add a single hour to his span of life? Now, obviously, anxiety was part of their existence.

Do you think by being anxious you can extend your life? Don't be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Your eyes saw my unformed substance. You've written this down in your book. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, I couldn't get them on a spreadsheet. If I could count them, they're more than the sand.

I awake, and I am still with you. Now, let me say, you design me, you direct my steps. How does David respond to this here?

I suggest just in two ways, but I want to add one. I think it's there. You could check. First of all, he responds in verse 14 by saying, God, you are praiseworthy. You are worthy of praise. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So this is not the same as people going on Facebook explaining how magnificent they are.

No. The person who understands that God made them realizes what they are—good, bad, ugly, whatever the bits and pieces might be. The real amazing part of it is that you are worthy of praise because you actually made me. I am not a self-made man.

I am not a self-made woman. There's no reason—I don't care how many followers I've got on my thing, whatever it might be. No, it is praise. It is praise.

Because you have enabled me to see what godless people cannot see. We say of it, Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see. Isn't that what we saw in Romans chapter 1, behind a facade of wisdom? They became fools who exchanged the glory of a mortal god for things that creep and crawl and fly. And they said, No, no, no, we don't believe in the living God, but you'll worship this. Though the eye of sinful man your glory may not see.

We see. So, atheists know whether it's snowing or whether the sky is blue. They can look up and say, This sky is blue.

They can look out and say, It's a sunny day. But the hymnwriter gets it well in his amazing hymn, which begins, Loved with everlasting love, Led by grace that love to know, Spirit moving from above, You have taught me it is so. And then he gets into his second verse, and he says, Heaven above is softer blue, And earth around is sweeter green. And something lives in every hue, that is H-U-E, That Christless eyes have never seen. And birds with gladder songs overflow, And earth with deeper beauty shine, Since I know, as now I know, That I am his, and he is mine. So, I mean, the Christian artist ought to be really jazzed about the art.

The scientist, as a Christian, ought to be able to say they come out of the surgery, and they don't just say, We did a great job there. They say, That was a great job. But God, you are an amazing God. That you plumbed everything in such a way that we could do that, that you made it in all of its intricacy, you are worthy of my praise. Wonderful are your works. Secondly, your thoughts are precious, So worthy of my praise, And your thoughts are precious. How precious to me are your thoughts?

There's almost a repeat of verse 6, isn't it? Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, It's high, I can't attain it. I think that David here is just referring to all the thought, if you like, that God has put into forming, fashioning, and framing his life. He says, I can't even begin to imagine how you could put the universe together, how you could put all this together, how we're in the right position in the solar system, why we haven't frozen to death, why we haven't burned up, why we actually still spin. The philosophers were all asking.

Paul was a bright guy. You know how he answered it? He says in Colossians 1, In him that is in Christ, in the Word, in God incarnate, in him all things hold together. The psalmist is looking out, and he says, You know, I just can't grasp it all.

And then notice how the section ends. I awake, and I am still with you. Are we to assume that David actually, having these big thoughts, kind of drifted off to sleep, and then he woke up?

And he said, Well, I'd better finish this. I awake, and I am still with you. I don't think so. It might work for some of you here who have drifted off into the second and third stages of anesthesia, and you wake up and you go, Whoa, I am awake, and I am still with you. Yes!

I don't think so. I think it's open for discussion, but I think it's a little glimpse of the resurrection. After all, sleep is one of the metaphors that runs all the way through the Old Testament and into the New. Don't worry, Jesus said of someone, she has fallen asleep.

Don't worry, he says, I'll take care of Lazarus. He's asleep. I go to wake him. I want to read this little phrase, I awake, and I am still with you, in light of 1 Thessalonians 4, for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. When you fall asleep, you never know you're asleep till you wake up.

That's what being asleep is. Ultimately, for the Christian, you fall asleep in the arms of Jesus, and you wake up, and you're home. What he's actually saying is, as he's… Remember, he said, if I go way up there, if I go way down there, if I go there, if I go there, already you're there with me. Because, after all, think about it, you made me. You fashioned me.

You've got it under control from the very beginning to the very end—all the bits and pieces. Now, here's my final thought. The word here for precious is a word that means weighty or heavy. So I wrote down in my notes, I said, Well, wait a minute, God, your thoughts are praiseworthy, your thoughts are precious, but your thoughts are pretty heavy.

So let's do—because I want another p, so praiseworthy, precious, and puzzling. Puzzling. Or perplexing.

Or painful. Because recognize that when we affirm the sovereignty of God in this way, we are acknowledging that Scripture affirms his sovereignty over all. That this God sees the invisible, that he is the one who penetrates what to us is inaccessible, and he is the one who is operative, superintending every detail. And that this God is able to do everything that he chooses to do. And yet we live in a fallen world. That we live with brokenness, we live with pain, with suffering, with disappointment, with bereavement, and with death.

Therefore, when we seek to affirm with David here, Your thoughts are precious, you are praiseworthy, but God, your thoughts are puzzling to me. Because only you know the end from the beginning. You realize how vitally important this is for the believer to acknowledge that God's sovereignty extends to our genetic code.

Therefore, we have to be prepared to say, I don't know why this would be, I don't know how this works, and I don't like it. Your thoughts are painful to me. All the days of my life was written in your book before one of them came to me. Now, loved ones, you've got to understand that God cannot be sovereign over some things unless he's sovereign over all things. And that is why he says, Your thoughts are heavy. These are heavy thoughts, O God. This is not some light, superficial explanation of the universe that puts a spring in my step and allows me to dance through my days. No, this is through many dangers, toils, and snares. You remember when Eliot—whom I quoted, I think, last week, because I saw that picture again—I mean, when Eliot and his colleagues were brutally murdered by the folks that were killing people and chopping their heads off, in reflection upon that, Elizabeth, Jim's wife, said this, Either we are living adrift in chaos, or we are individuals created, loved, upheld, and placed purposefully exactly where we are. That's it.

It's either a meaningless universe, or God is sovereign. They're not halfway house. Helen Roseveare is a missionary. Cambridge graduate.

Clever, sweet lady. Goes with all of her educational medical background to the Belgian Conga, as it was in the 1960s. In the uprising, the terrorist uprising in the Congo, many of her colleagues were killed. She survived. She was brutalized, raped. When she finally recuperated, and she looked back on what had happened and she looked forward to what was ahead, she said to me, she said, I actually felt as though God said to me, Helen, will you trust me with that, even if I never tell you why?

Will you? Nancy Guthrie, her little book God Does Best with Empty, addresses very helpfully all the loss in her life and her husband's life in the two children that were born with the same kind of disease that took them into eternity within months. And she says, I think it is in there, I can be sure, you buy the book and check. I think it's Nancy who says, The hardest thing to accept is the softest place to land.

To what is she referring? The sovereignty of God. It's hard to accept that, isn't it? That God was sovereign over this loss, over this bereavement, and yet it's the softest place to land. Jesus is helpful in this, isn't he? Jesus goes to the cross according to the eternal plan and foreknowledge of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And they find him in the garden of Gethsemane, and he says, I am overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He's not going, Hey, yeah, I'm the propitiation for sin.

No. If there is any possible way—well, if that is Christ, and he is touched with the feelings of our infirmities—then all of our sadness, all of our questions, all of our disappointments, all of our failures may be gathered up in his embrace. Read the passage again for yourselves, maybe today, and think it out. That is Alistair Begg reminding us that we have a sympathetic high priest in good times and bad. You're listening to Truth for Life.

Alistair will be back in just a minute. We're learning how trustworthy and praiseworthy God is, but we're unlikely to trust and praise a God we don't know. That's why our mission at Truth for Life is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance every day and to make additional teaching freely available on our website at truthforlife.org. All of Alistair's teaching is available to be heard or watched or shared without cost. And if you're looking for specific teaching, you can search for a message by topic, by series name, or by scripture.

You can also access a complete ESV Bible online at truthforlife.org slash Bible. All of this free teaching is available because listeners like you pray for this ministry and give to cover the cost of distributing Alistair's messages. Every time you donate to Truth for Life, you're helping deliver God's word to someone else. If this is a mission that you feel like you can support, you can give a gift online today at truthforlife.org slash donate or call us at 888-588-7884. And when you donate, be sure to request a copy of the book Dream Small, the secret power of the ordinary Christian life. We offer the book as our way of saying thanks for your support. This book, Dream Small, will help you understand why getting to the top in God's economy means you have to get to the bottom.

Request your copy of Dream Small when you donate today at truthforlife.org slash donate. Now here's Alistair with a closing prayer. O God, we thank you for the Bible. We thank you that you are the everlasting God, a holy God, a faithful God, an incomprehensible God—ineffable, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.

We are such tiny little people. Forgive us our rebellious hearts. Help us in our sadness and in our questions. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

I'm Bob Lapeen. Thanks for listening today. Join us tomorrow as we'll get a clearer view of ourselves by first taking a closer look at God. And on behalf of all of us at Truth for Life, let me wish our listeners in the United States a blessed and happy Independence Day as you celebrate our freedom today with friends and family. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-04 04:40:05 / 2023-07-04 04:48:30 / 8

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