God's sovereignty

Psalm 139: Good News for the Christian, Bad News for the Non-Believer

This morning, I had the pleasure to preach to the middle and high school students at Blue Grass Baptist School.  I preached out of Psalm 139.  Here’s the basic outline.

The Lord knows you.

In Psalm 139:1-6 (go ahead and read through it), we see that God knows even the most routine of actions we do without thinking about them (sitting down, rising up).  He also knows our thoughts and our words—even before we think them or speak them.  To use a theological term, this is omniscience—all-knowing!  The Scripture even says that he hems us in not just to keep the Enemy away from us from the outside, but to keep us hemmed in for our own protection!  Of all the people I have the most trouble with is myself—and I’m sure many of you can say the same thing.

So if God knows all these things, that brings great comfort to those who belong to Him in Christ.  Consider this passage:

12For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:12-16). 

He knows us through Christ, who experienced everything we have—yet stayed obedient in word, thought, and action!  He knows, understands, sympathizes, and welcomes those who are His own to come near confidently to find mercy and grace.

For those not in Christ, He knows everything about us.  Nothing flies under His radar!  For those who have yet to surrender to Christ,

The Lord sees you.

In Psalm 139:7-12 (go ahead and read through it), we see even more so of how nothing flies under God’s radar.  High or low, east or west, night or day, he sees everything!  I joke when listening to a sports radio show that if the headline begins, “At 2:30 in the morning …” I automatically know something bad just happened.  You see, so many people believe that the nighttime can hide their actions.  Yet, when God says, “The night is as day to him”—that’s a startling revelation to many. 

The Lord made you.

In Psalm 139:13-18 (go ahead and read through it), we see that even in the mother’s womb, God is forming and fashioning us “fearfully and wonderfully,” blowing to shreds that life is only viable when the baby exits the birth canal and draws it’s first breath.  God has measured the number of our days as well.  Even on a microscopic level at conception, Scripture makes it clear that He is there weaving us together—complete with our own DNA.

Check out the video below of the pictures of the development of the unborn child.  (I know—it’s titled “Pro-Life Anti-Abortion Video”—but if you are pro-choice/pro-abortion, I pray you will at least look at the pictures to see our vantage point.)

 

The Lord searches you. 

In Psalm 139:19-24 (go ahead and read through it), this harsh-sounding passage shows the realism of the heart that loves (we have rage and anger against those who despise and spew hatred against those we love—including spewing hatred against God) and asks God for justice (as we all do when someone wrongs us).  But verses 23-24 shows the author asking God to search him so there wouldn’t be any wickedness found in his heart.  He doesn’t want to be numbered among those who despise the Lord, even internally.  He doesn’t want to be ‘that guy.’ 

Skeptics want validation of their own authority.  Christians want vindication from their enemies, even the greatest enemy of all: self! 

Is Psalm 139 good news or bad news for you?

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Have Christians Despised Their Birthright?

Last night at our Wednesday Night Bible Study, we had a study entitled “Running Ahead of God’s Sovereignty” in looking at Esau’s forfeiture of his birthright and his loss of Isaac’s blessing. In Genesis 25:34, after Esau sold his birthright for some of Jacob’s stew, Moses tells us that “Esau despised his birthright.”

We may think, “How awful on Esau’s part–to forfeit this spiritual blessing for material possessions. Did he not realize what he did?”

A scene from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” comes to mind. After Delmar (played by Tim Blake Nelson) and Pete (John Turturro) “get baptized,” those two along with Everett (played by George Clooney) are driving down a desolate area where they come to a crossroads. There they meet Tommy (played by Blues guitarist extraordinare Chris Thomas King). He said he sold his soul to the devil who showed him “how to play the guitar real good.” Delmar sadly responds, “Oh, son… for that, you traded your everlasting soul.” To which Tommy responds, “Well, I wasn’t using it!”

This is the mindset of Esau: trading a spiritual blessing that he felt provided him nothing at the moment so that his belly might be filled for that one meal. And Jacob took full advantage. Rebekah knew full well where Jacob stood in the providence of God:

And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”
When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb
(Genesis 25:23-24, ESV).

God worked out, even in the midst of such circumstances, for His prophecy to come to pass.

The question is, do we find ourselves shaking our heads at Esau–all the while not seeing how Christians have despised their birthright as those who have been regenerated by our Lord Jesus Christ?

James Montgomery Boice lists off five ways that Christians in the 21st century have despised their birthright:

  1. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of Jesus’ death.
  2. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of the Word of God.
  3. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of gospel preaching.
  4. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of His church.
  5. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of time and leisure.

Over the next few days, I will flesh out many of these. Can you think of any other benefits Christians give up in despising their birthright?

John 1:12-13 says:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Categories: God's sovereignty | 1 Comment

Have Christians Despised Their Birthright?

Last night at our Wednesday Night Bible Study, we had a study entitled “Running Ahead of God’s Sovereignty” in looking at Esau’s forfeiture of his birthright and his loss of Isaac’s blessing. In Genesis 25:34, after Esau sold his birthright for some of Jacob’s stew, Moses tells us that “Esau despised his birthright.”

We may think, “How awful on Esau’s part–to forfeit this spiritual blessing for material possessions. Did he not realize what he did?”

A scene from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” comes to mind. After Delmar (played by Tim Blake Nelson) and Pete (John Turturro) “get baptized,” those two along with Everett (played by George Clooney) are driving down a desolate area where they come to a crossroads. There they meet Tommy (played by Blues guitarist extraordinare Chris Thomas King). He said he sold his soul to the devil who showed him “how to play the guitar real good.” Delmar sadly responds, “Oh, son… for that, you traded your everlasting soul.” To which Tommy responds, “Well, I wasn’t using it!”

This is the mindset of Esau: trading a spiritual blessing that he felt provided him nothing at the moment so that his belly might be filled for that one meal. And Jacob took full advantage. Rebekah knew full well where Jacob stood in the providence of God:

And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”
When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb
(Genesis 25:23-24, ESV).

God worked out, even in the midst of such circumstances, for His prophecy to come to pass.

The question is, do we find ourselves shaking our heads at Esau–all the while not seeing how Christians have despised their birthright as those who have been regenerated by our Lord Jesus Christ?

James Montgomery Boice lists off five ways that Christians in the 21st century have despised their birthright:

  1. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of Jesus’ death.
  2. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of the Word of God.
  3. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of gospel preaching.
  4. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of His church.
  5. Many Christians have forfeited the benefits of time and leisure.

Over the next few days, I will flesh out many of these. Can you think of any other benefits Christians give up in despising their birthright?

John 1:12-13 says:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Categories: God's sovereignty | 1 Comment