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Past Ponderings

Saturday, August 13, 2022

God’s Monumental…So What? (Joshua 1:9, Psalm 147:5, Romans 8:38)

Video 

God’s Monumental…So What? (Joshua 1:9, Psalm 147:5, Romans 8:38)

GIST: You can be strong and courageous because He won’t leave you, He’s abundantly powerful, and nothing can ever separate you from His love!


Today, we're celebrating VBS Family Day. This is one of my favorite services of the year. I love VBS, and I love being able to dedicate a service to sharing what the kids have been learning. Honestly, I love just giving an entire service to our kiddos. Calling them “the future” isn't just something we say. That has to be the reality we live. We have to invest in these kids seeing the love of Jesus!

That being said, this morning, we'll take a break from our regular Psalms study to focus on the three memory verses from this weekend. Every one of these passages is taken from such a rich portion of Scripture we could easily have camped out in any of them for the whole service. In fact, I encourage you to take time to read them all in context. Nevertheless, for today, I want to zero in on how the truths in these three verses interact to respond to this question. All week, we've been calling God monumental: So what? What difference does that make in our lives?

Here’s our gist: You can be strong and courageous because He won’t leave you, He’s abundantly powerful, and nothing can ever separate you from His love!

And I know the kids, and maybe adults, can get pretty anxious knowing there are bounce-houses awaiting them, so I won’t keep you overly long this morning ☺️.

Let’s just walk through the implications of these verses our kids have been memorizing all weekend. First, why does it matter that God is amazing?


I. You Can Be Strong & Courageous

Let’s look at the whole text of Joshua 1:9. This was written to Joshua right after the death of Moses. He was the new leader of a group of people with a pretty dicey track-record, and he was stepping into massive shoes. Moses was called a friend of God. He was used to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt. He was used to part the red sea. He was given the 10 commandments. Can you imagine being the “next guy” after that!? But what message does God have for Joshua? → “9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Guys, we live in a world where we don’t often feel strong or courageous. Fear is easy because brokenness is rampant. You probably don’t often, if ever, feel up to whatever is in front of you. I get it. Neither do I. And honestly, I’m not. Neither are you. Neither was Joshua. God didn’t tell you to be strong and courageous because you’re awesome. He told you to be strong and courageous→ 


II. Because He Won’t Leave You

This is what the kids memorized this week:  “for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” This is true. There is no where you can go that He’s not. At one point this week, Haley tied a balloon to my wrist, and I ran around trying to get away from it. Of course, it didn’t work (though I’m sure the kids like watching me dive under the pews ☺️). We talked about how we should think about where we go and what we do because God is always there with us. The flip side of that coin is that God wants to be there with you. He is pursuing you with His love and amazing grace! He has plans and purposes for your life, and He’ll never leave you. If you belong to Him, the Bible tells us His goodness and mercy will chase after you all the days of your life (Psalm 23). That’s kind of a big deal. We live in an ever-changing world, but we serve an ever-constant God. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard my dad say that this week ☺️. That’s awesome, and it’s just the first verse we memorized. The next one reminds us why we can trust this pursing presence. 


III. He’s Abundantly Powerful

Look at Psalm 147:5. “5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.” This verse is pretty straight forward, but there are two points that I don’t want us to miss. Two of God’s characteristics are being described here: His power and understanding. Both are said to be beyond us. His power is abundant. His understanding is beyond measure. Why does it matter that God is monumental? Because He is bigger and brighter and better than anyone or anything ever could be, He’s stronger than anything that could possibly come our way, He gets us on a level no one else ever could, → 


IV. And Nothing Can Ever Separate You From His Love!

I couldn’t help it. I had to go back a few verses on the last passage here just to give you a taste of how beautiful this portion of Scripture is, and I think you’ll understand why when we read it.  “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39) 

Nothing. Nothing that you are facing now. Nothing that might come your way tomorrow. Not your darkest day. Not that worst possible scenario you try not to run through in your mind. Nothing can ever separate you from the love of Jesus. 


TAKEAWAYS

We’ve been calling God monumental all weekend. Why does that matter?

  1. You can be strong and courageous. Even though you don’t feel like it.

  2. Because He won’t leave you. And there’s nowhere you could hide from Him and nothing you could do to make Him love you less. And→

  3. He’s abundantly powerful. And wise beyond our understanding. Still→

  4. Nothing can ever separate you from His love! Nothing. Ever.

  5. Do you know Him today?saszss

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Can You Be Still? (Psalm 46)

 Can You Be Still? (Psalm 46)

GIST: If God is our very present refuge and strength, we don’t have to be afraid even in the face of devastation. If He’s our life-giving source of joy, we can trust that—though attacks will come—He’s the overcomer! If He’s our God, we can calm down & praise.

Good morning and welcome to worship at the lake! We’re so excited that God has provided us this opportunity to come and worship together in Terre Du Lac, our backyard, and a place we feel burdened to share the gospel with. 

Though we sometimes step away from our regular study for special services like this, I think the psalm we would be discussing today anyway is the perfect message to hear when worshiping in a field next to this beautiful lake. Let’s look at Psalm 46, then we’ll break it down together.


 "1 To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how He has brought desolations on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the chariots with fire. 10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah"


This beautiful psalm is probably most famous for that tenth verse which tells us to be still and know He’s God. Before bringing us to that point, however, the psalmist tells us why we can trust God enough to be still. Typically, my gist statements are one sentence. However, in an attempt to reflect the reasoning of the psalmist, I’m going to break today’s into three. And, of course, these will be our points this morning, as well. If God is our very present refuge and strength, we don’t have to be afraid even in the face of devastation. If He’s our life-giving source of joy, we can trust that—though attacks will come—He’s the overcomer! If He’s our God, we can calm down & praise.


I. If God Is Our Very Present Refuge and Strength, We Don’t Have To Be Afraid Even In The Face of Devastation. (1-3)

With four kiddos, I’ve heard some variant of “Daddy, come with me” about a million times. And it’s never a casual request either because it comes from a place of need. When one of them asks me to come with them, or stay next to them, or hold their hand, it is because I make them feel… safe. Somehow, my scrawny presence and goofy personality are like an emotional shield. Scary stuff just isn’t as scary when I’m close. Why? Because despite my many flaws, they know I love them and will do anything I can to protect them.

Maybe you’ve had or still have people or places in your life that just make you feel more secure. Maybe not. Maybe the people and places around you do the opposite. Either way, you guys understand this desire. Inside each of us is a longing for belonging. We want to feel safe and accepted. Even the most headstrong and fiercely independent among us want rest, but you can’t rest in a warzone. We need to know we’re safe, and we can!

Again, this psalm is building toward reasons why we can be still, and this very first verse cuts straight to our hearts: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” 

He’s our refuge. The place where nothing can get to us. The place where we’re protected from flaming arrows, angry mobs, and social media posts. He’s where we belong, and He’s the strength we need to stand there. When my kids ask me to come with them, it’s because I make them feel stronger. They’re braver when I’m close by because they know I’ve got their backs. They feel this, and I’m just as broken as anyone else. Nonetheless, I pray they see this truth as they grow: they can boldly and courageously face life if they are walking with almighty Jesus! I pray you see this too. You might feel defeated. Maybe you’re very open about your deflation, or maybe you’ve been relying on your strength and charisma for a long time while desperately hoping nothing breaks through that facade. Guys, you don’t have to be strong enough. He is.

You know the most beautiful part of this verse to me though? It opens by not only telling us He can be our refuge and strength, but that He is a very present help in trouble. He isn’t just out there somewhere offering vague promises of protection. You’ve probably heard God referred to as omnipresent—being in all places at all times. Though this is completely true, I think sometimes it comes across a bit cold, almost as if God is just really big, so His substance is all around us. However, verses like this remind us He’s not just around. He’s very present. In a way more intimate than any reassuring hug I could ever give my children, God is here. And He is here for you specifically. His love isn’t poured out in general terms. Jesus came so you would know He loves you, individually, with a passion beyond comprehension. You want to feel safe, and He’s here offering amazing grace…even when everything seems to be falling apart.

Look at where the psalm goes next. “2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah” Because He is our very present refuge and strength, we don’t have to be afraid…even though there will be plenty of reasons to! The implication of this verse is that the earth will shake. Disasters will happen. You will feel broken. Salvation is not a promise of ease. However—and I know I say this a lot, but it really resonates with me—we can face hardship with hope because God, our refuge and strength, is our very present help in trouble!


II. If He Is Our Life-giving Source of Joy, We Can Trust That—Though Attacks Will Come—He’s The Overcomer! (4-9)

I know that’s a mouthful of a point ☺️, but there are several things happening in these next few verses. First, we see this→“4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.”

These verses, like the ones above them and the ones that follow, focus on God’s presence among His people. Here, the imagery starts with this picture of a river flowing in the middle of the city of God. Interestingly, if we were looking at the “city of God” as referring to Jerusalem, this wouldn’t be true. There wasn’t a physical river in Jerusalem, but both Ezekiel and Revelation talk about spiritual rivers that seem very reminiscent of this one. In every scenario, the river is→

Life-Giving. In this context, we can really get that picture because a river in the midst of a besieged city would provide security and literally keep people alive. If you couldn’t leave, but there was a constant supply of water, maybe even fish, you could last for a long time. This metaphor explodes, in a positive way, when we realize that what is in the middle of this city providing life is actually a who—it’s God who is in our midst. Rivers can be cut out or dried up. The life God provides never runs dry! If this is true, then not only is it a source of life, but it’s our ultimate→

Source of Joy. This river was making people happy! God’s presence should make a joyous difference in our lives! Does it? Guys, I know this is one of my soapboxes, but it’s because it convicts me as much as it does you. If I have Jesus actively working in my life, why do I let frustration and despair move into my heart so readily?

The psalm continues these thoughts in the next verses. “6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how He has brought desolations on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the chariots with fire.” What’s going on here? At least two things. First→

Attacks Will Come. Again, the implication is that nations will rage and wars will come, but in all this→ 

He Overcomes. He is all-powerful and always victorious…even when we don’t immediately see His movement. We can trust His life-giving source of joy, even when we’re facing persecution and destruction. 


III. If He’s Our God, We Can Calm Down & Praise.

Now, let’s look at the most famous portion of this psalm, and the source of the title of this message ☺️.  “10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah"

So, what if the context of this phrase we see plastered on every other Hobby Lobby decoration? 

If All This Is True… We Can Chill. If God is really our very present source of refuge and strength— if He’s our life-giving source of joy— our doubts, and complaints, and fear, and arguments should all fade away in His presence. If He is our God, we can lay all that down, we can take a deep breath, we can calm down→ 

And Praise. Redirect your heart from fear to faith, and from dread to exaltation! That’s what this psalm is telling us we can do!

Now, let’s recap in our→ 


TAKEAWAYS

  1. If God is our very present refuge and strength, we don’t have to be afraid even in the face of devastation. 

  2. If He’s our life-giving source of joy, we can trust that—though attacks will come—He’s the overcomer! 

  3. If He’s our God, we can calm down & praise.

  4. IF. This is all true if we belong to Him, if our hope is in Him, if we’re no longer trying to do this on our own, if we’ve given Him control. If not… there are no such promises. Please, come to Him today! “9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ... 13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."” (Romans 10:9, 13) 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

What Should We Do As The Bride Of Christ? (Psalm 45:9-17)

VIDEO 

What Should We Do As The Bride Of Christ? (Psalm 45:9-17)

GIST: Listen diligently, love wholeheartedly, live experiencing extravagant grace, and leave a legacy. 


This morning, we’re going to continue our discussion of Psalm 45. When we looked at it two weeks ago, we saw this love song celebrates a royal marriage ceremony that just doesn’t fit with any earthly couple. The king is just more than any man could ever be. Combine that not only with how this psalm has been interpreted throughout time, but also with how the New Testament quotes it in Hebrews as referring to Jesus, and we see that we have something really special here. This is a poetic description of Christ and the Church. 

The first half showed us Jesus, and our gist was: When we see Jesus for who He is—glorious, powerful, purposeful, eternally good—we’ll be in the right place to love Him as our king who we so desperately need.

Today, we’re going to look at the second half of the psalm where we’ll really see what it looks like to be the Bride of King Jesus. Again, I know for many of us, especially the men in the room, thinking of ourselves in those terms can be awkward. However, though we’re talking in terms of intimacy, this isn’t the same as our notions of romance. We are meant to experience a relationship with Jesus that is closer than even the best of marriages. Look at how it’s described in this passage:


"9 …daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. 10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father's house, 11 and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. 12 The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people. 13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. 14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. 15 With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king. 16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. 17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever."


For our gist, I started with an “l-thing” this week and just kind of stuck with it ☺️. I say that ahead of time because I am fully acknowledging that the wording of the third point is trying too hard ☺️. Nonetheless, as we live as the Bride of Jesus, we should: Listen diligently, love wholeheartedly, live experiencing extravagant grace, and leave a legacy. Let’s break that down.


I. Listen Diligently

“…daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:”

Where we’re picking up here is the transition from describing the king to describing His bride. In His splendor, He is surrounded by honored royalty. However, as we’ll see even more as we move through this passage, the beauty of those surrounding Him, is a direct result of being valued by Him and transformed into His image.

Now, as those surrounding Him are zeroed in on and we’re given a direct description of the queen, or bride, we’re given a directive: pay attention. This is only a small portion of the whole psalm, but I think its worth at least pointing out. In fact, in his commentary on the Psalms, Charles Spurgeon said: “Ever is this the great duty of the church.” Something I have re-learned from Melissa this summer is the importance of listening to what God is telling you. For eight weeks, we’ve had the blessing of getting into Terre Du Lac and trying to show to love of Jesus. I know this opportunity is due largely to the fact that God laid this heavily on Melissa’s heart, and she listened. 

Guys, there will be so many voices competing for your attention. Believe me, I know. Even as I study my Bible and prepare sermons for Sunday, I’m bombarded by the millions of other things I could be listening to, or watching, or doing…etc. Please, let’s pray together for a focus on and desire for hearing Him. 

Listen diligently. Also→ 


II. Love Wholeheartedly

This next passage is one of those that can seem a little harsh when taken out of context, but it’s also one we can be tempted to water down because what it’s teaching is hard.  Look at where the psalm goes next: “forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your Lord, bow to him.”

There are two major directives here, as well. The first one is in line with contraversial passages that seem to tell us to hate our families. However, the Bible doesn’t teach us to actually hate our families, and that’s not what is meant by “forget your people and your father’s house”. I like to think of this as→

Love in Extremes. We know the Bible tells us to love people. We’re called even to love our enemies and the people around us we don’t know well or particularly like. However, the love we have for the people of this world, strong as that should be, must pale in comparison with the love we have for God. When we say He’s our number one, the race isn’t supposed to be close. Therefore, our love for God should be such that our love for the rest the world seems like abandonment in comparison.

Likewise, to love God means to hate sin. We leave what is broken and destructive to pursue the one who brings life! That’s why we’re called to bow down to Him. Here is another place where we know this isn’t just an earthly marriage. Melissa might respect me, but she definitely doesn’t bow down to me, nor should she! I don’t deserve that. God does. He is in control. We leave behind our sin, and we follow wholeheartedly after our soverign God! Then, we→ 


III. Live Experiencing Extravagant Grace

Again, I know that one seems like a stretch to keep the l-thing going. It was ☺️, but the sentiment is true. Look at the bigger section of this half of the psalm. “The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people. All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.”

There is a lot of imagery here and no real directives, so it can be easy to get lost in the pictures, but what is this telling us about the bride of Jesus? I think there are a few things here.

First, we’re favored & provided for. Now, I am not for a second going to preach a prosperity message that says if you just follow after God, you’ll be rich, and your life will be easy. That’s not true. That’s not in Scripture, and it’s not how we see God working around us. However, what we do see again and again and again is God equipping us for whatever He calls us. If you know me at all, you know I’m not a money person. That’s probably great since I’m a teacher and preacher and probably won’t ever have much money to worry about. One area in particular that is a major struggle for me is asking people for their money. I would literally make the worst salesman because I’d just be giving stuff away for free all the time. However, as your pastor, something I feel strongly about is helping us fight against the stereotype that churches are just trying to get people’s money. We’re called to God and share the life-changing love of Jesus. We’re not called to go and get money. 

Now, why do I bring that up? Because I’ve seen God work miracles in this church over the past five years. Come to a business meeting. It’s incredible to me. Everything in the world is ridiculously expensive right now, and we’re spending more money on outreach than we have in the sixteen years I’ve been blessed to be part of this congregation, but God is providing. I had someone ask me at one of our Community Wednesdays how we were making money off the events, and he was blown away when I told him we weren’t making a dime, but in fact we were spending money every week to make these happen. Telling him that, opened up a door to share the love of Jesus, and it was awesome. Guys, we have spent thousands of dollars to step out in faith and tell people about Jesus, and when you come to a business meeting, it looks like nothing in those accounts has changed. How is that possible? Because what God calls us to, He equips us for. 

Just this week, due to a miscommunication, it looked like we weren’t going to be able to have our service at the lake next Sunday we’ve been advertising for months, but God is good and faithful, and He called us to the door, and He made sure that we could walk through it. 

Another aspect of these verses is the descriptions of how pretty the bride looks. It also makes reference to her coming with virgin companions, meaning she too is pure. What is this a picture of? Does that mean the church is only made up a perfect people? Not at all. It means the church is adorned in His beauty and covered in His righteousness & purity

We are made clean by the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, we can live joyous lives heading toward heaven. See how this section ends. They are led with joy and gladness to the palace of the king. This should define our lives. We are being led to our ultimate destination: Heaven, the full presence of God. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the journey!

Listen, love, be loved, and→ 


IV. Leave a Legacy

The metaphors get mixed a bit here at the end of the psalm, and the last verse actually comes back to speak of the king, but the message is consistent with what the whole song has been moving toward. “In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.”

Let me make two quick observations, then we’ll hit the takeaways. First, we should have a→

Difference-Making Witness. Fathers being replaced by prince-sons, is a picture of the legacy of faith being passed down from generation to generation. We just spent a week with my side of the family. For the first time in five years, our whole clan was together (my parents and my brothers’ families). It’s incredible to see the legacy of my parents faithful witness. Their not perfect people, and we’re not perfect kids, but we all love Jesus, and we’ve all devoted our lives to being ministers because we want other people to see Him too. That’s what the bride is supposed to look like: a bunch of broken people who really want people to see the glorious king!

The only reason we can have a legacy like this, however, is because of our→

Difference-Making King. The psalm ends where it began: the glory of the king who will be remembered and praised forever!


TAKEAWAYS

  1. Listen diligently.

  2. Love wholeheartedly.

  3. Leave a legacy.

  4. And remember you’re cherished by the King of Kings… because you are.


Saturday, July 23, 2022

Do You Think He’s Wonderful? (Psalm 45:1-8)

VIDEO 

Do You Think He’s Wonderful? (Psalm 45:1-8)

GIST: When we see Jesus for who He is—glorious, powerful, purposeful, eternally good—we’ll be in the right place to love Him as our king who we so desperately need.

Another reason I love stepping back and doing our Summers in Psalms is it often seems like every-other-week is a special service that jumps us “off script” a bit. So, after yet another week away from the psalms, we’re going to walk into the first part of Psalm 45 this morning. 

A few weeks ago, Melissa asked me if all the psalms in this section were going to be about depression ☺️. A lot are, but the next grouping takes us another direction. In fact, this psalm points to why we should have all joy. 

The title of Psalm 45 tells us it was written by the sons of Korah as a love song. The psalmist then starts by telling us his heart is overflowing with a pleasing theme, and the subject of this psalm is exactly that. It’s written as a celebration of the marriage between the king and his bride. There is a lot of speculation about which king this was written for originally, but when you look at the psalm it is clear, like we’ve seen so often, the descriptions here go much deeper than any earthly king could adequately live up to. Add to this that this psalm is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9 as referring to Jesus, and we can see what we have here is a picture of the marriage of Christ and the Church. This love song is about the relationship we’re meant to have with Jesus. The first half focuses on who Jesus is and why He’s deserving of our love, and the second half then talks about what our response to Him should be.

Today, I just want to walk through that first half and look at the beauty of this incredible Jesus who loves us so wonderfully. Actually, this week, I was listening to a book by Jackie Hill Perry about her journey of faith, and something she said really resonated with me, and I think it speaks to the message in this psalm, as well. Talking about the kind of Bible teaching she had grown up hearing she asks: “Why hadn’t they ever mentioned the place happiness had within righteousness, or how the taking up of the cross would be a practice of obtaining delight? … In their defense, they were not to blame for my unbelief. I just wonder if they would’ve told me about the beauty of God just as much, if not more, than they told me about the horridness of hell, if I would’ve burned my idols at a faster pace.” We need to take Hell seriously. We cannot wink at sin. We have to know the truth and stand firmly on it. However, if being a Christian becomes more about fighting a battle than loving our Savior, we’re missing the point. Heaven won’t be about avoiding Hell; it will be about enjoying Jesus. And guys, this is super convicting to me. If we aren’t excited about being in the presence of Jesus because that’s where we find joy and meaning, then we’re not really looking forward to Heaven.

So, let’s take a moment and let this psalm speak to us about our awesome Jesus. We’ll look at the first eight verses this morning, then I’ll give you the gist statement. 


“1 To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song. My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. 2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. 3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty! 4 In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; 8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;”


Ok, so here’s our gist for this morning: When we see Jesus for who He is—glorious, powerful, purposeful, eternally good—we’ll be in the right place to love Him as our king who we so desperately need. I know putting our there throws off my sentence a bit. It would have flowed better if I said “the king we desperately need”. And while still true and grammatically more satisfying, I wanted to make sure and emphasize the relational focus of this psalm. We need to see Jesus not just as this marvelous king in general, but as the king who loves us and wants a personal relationship with each one of us. He isn’t the distant and disconnected hero of a story meant for someone else. He’s the hero of your story. He’s the one who loves you so much He took on Hell in your place. We need to see that.

Now, let’s walk through these verses a bit ☺️.


I. Glorious (2)

 “2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.” 

He Is The Most Handsome. Let me start by saying that maybe part of the reason we don’t focus on passages like this too much is that the marriage imagery can be hard for male pastors to talk about. Jesus is also portrayed as the glorious husband, and we’re the bride, so it can come across sounding strange or uncomfortable… or almost sacrilegious. That being said, let’s get this clarified from the beginning. This is not meant to be some kind of romantic attraction we have for Jesus. This is a love song because we’re meant to enjoy an intimate relationship with Jesus, and the only relationship remotely close to that level here on earth is that of a truly loving husband and wife. 

All that being said, calling Jesus the most handsome of men isn’t saying He’s a “hottie”. That’s where the sacrilegious part comes in ☺️, and it misses the point. The Bible tells us there wasn’t anything noticeable about His outward appearance when He walked the earth. He didn’t take the form of a supermodel, but He was deeply appealing because that’s who He is. We should be drawn to Him. He isn’t cold and distant. He’s someone we long to be around. I think that is my favorite thing about how The Chosen depicts Jesus. He’s intensely compelling for people. On a level no one could really portray with human actors, He is! And→

His Mouth Is Full Of Words of Grace. Mine aren’t. I use my mouth a lot, but I know it doesn’t always speak life. Jesus, however, came as the Word of God, and He came proclaiming grace to all who would believe. We are sinners deserving Hell, but, because of this amazing grace, we can be rescued if we give Him control of our lives. Because of this→ 

He Is Forever Blessed. He is the eternally glorious God. He’s awesome, and He’s→ 


II. Powerful (3-4a)

Verses 3-4 continue: “3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty! 4 In your majesty ride out victoriously…” Do you see the power imagery here? He’s glorious and full of grace, but He’s also wearing a→ 

Sword. Now, we know from the New Testament when we talk about the armor of God, the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God— which Jesus embodied—and it’s that which the world needs to pierce its heart.

He’s The Mighty One. He’s effective in His power, and→

He’s Full Of Splendor and Majesty. These two words are very similar. They carry the connotations of wonderful in a way that is beyond us. He is at the edge of our ability to describe. Though He is good, and we’ll talk about that more in a second, merely “good” is inadequate to describe the level of this majestic splendor.

He Rides Victoriously. He’s actually told or asked to do this in the psalm, but it is exactly what He does! He’s sovereign. What He sets out to accomplish is done. His plans are accomplished, and His purposes are fulfilled. Unlike us, there are no circumstances or personal weaknesses that slow Him down. He’s glorious, and powerful, and→


III. Purposeful (4b-5)

Look at where verse 4 picks up. It describes how He rides out in victory. “4 In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you.” 

There are a few words I want to point out here. First→

His Mission Is The Truth. He rides out for the cause of truth. His the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Heaven except through Him. He doesn’t come telling people to just believe what they want. That wouldn’t be loving at all. He comes bearing reality and telling people the truth they need to hear even if hearing that is uncomfortable because that’s what love does! 

Still yet→ 

He Also Comes With The Purpose Of Meekness. This could also be translated as humility, and it’s almost like this is part of His mission as well as His method. He came carrying the truth, but He doesn’t come in rudeness or with hateful words. He speaks the truth in love. As His followers, we should too! Because→

He’s Carrying The Message Of Righteousness. He comes carrying the truth in meekness because He is Himself fully righteous. We can’t experience holiness apart from Him.

These verses then wrap up with two cool points, I’ll just state rather than explain for the sake of time.

His Strength (right hand) Teaches Awesome Deeds. It’s in His nature to be awesome because that is who He is fundamentally.

His Arrows Pierce Even the Hearts Of His Enemies—which we all are by nature. 

This list isn’t exhaustive, but at the very least we see these traits. He’s glorious, powerful, purposeful, and→ 


IV. Eternally Good (6-8)

Look at how this section ends. And this is actually the portion quoted in Hebrews 1. “6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; 8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;”

There’s actually a lot we could break down here, but I’ll try to be concise. If there was any doubt that this love song can’t be about just an earthly king, these verses hammer it home.

His Throne is Forever. Everything else in this world will come and go, but Jesus is forever on His throne. His sovereignty and control do not pass away. 

He Reigns With Uprightness. His throne is defined by loving righteousness—which brings life—and hating the wicked—which destroys. 

He is God & God Anointed. This is one of the passages that you’d want to skip over if you didn’t believe in the trinity because it just seems weird. Verses 6 and 7 call the king God and call Him anointed by God. Jesus, fully God and fully man, came, anointed by God the Father, to take on human flesh and live the life we could and take on the Hell we deserved. 

His Reign Results In Gladness For Himself and His People. The passage ends with pictures of pleasing fragrances, gorgeous places, and beautiful sounds. Life with Jesus is not just about being law-abiding citizens. It’s about being loved by this incredible God!


TAKEAWAYS

  1. God is glorious, powerful, purposeful, and eternally good.

  2. We’re meant to enjoy a relationship with Him that is more glorious, powerful, purposeful, and eternally good than all other alternatives.

  3. Are you missing out on the King you need in pursuit of something or someone... less? Am I?