What God Can Do (Psalm 147)

AUDIO 

 

MOTIVATE

–        Christians can learn from cheerleaders. The job of a cheerleader is to encourage their team and fans to celebrate regardless of the scoreboard. The team may be down several points, but the cheerleaders continue cheering. The team may make a bad play, but the cheerleaders continue cheering. The team’s coach may make a foolish decision, but the cheerleaders continue cheering. The referees may make a false call, but the cheerleaders continue cheering. There may be no hope for the team to win a game or a succeed during the season, but the cheerleaders continue cheering. The cheerleaders cheer from the start to the end of every game, regardless of the circumstances, because they know their one and only call is to cheer. Likewise, Christians one and only purpose is to praise the Lord in all life; the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

 

EXAMINE       Psalm 147

We praise the Lord for His unique being (Psalm 147:1)

Praise the Lord (vv. 1, 20 in the opening and closing of psalm)

–        See also Psalms 146-150 each repeat the command to praise the Lord, reflecting the Book of Psalms as Israel’s hearts cry to God.

–        Psalm 147 is a broad reflection of God’s greatness in creation and God’s grace to care for people. It’s a further reminder of God’s purpose in the incarnation to display God’s intent to relate to humanity; infinite yet intimate.

–        Psalm 147 is likely in context of Israel after the exile and returning to Jerusalem to rebuild its city and nation.

—–Imagine USA being invaded by NK and exiling Americans to CAN/USSR, but after 70 years descendants return to USA to rebuild.

o   Nations and Organizations that seek revival/renewal need songs that inspire it toward action.

o   Personally, what’s your song?

o   Our response song is for you… A prayer. A cry. A time to seek Him. A stake in the ground to provide a foundation and clarity of priority in your life. A moment of eternality.

  • Don’t jitter or leave!

 

–        “Praise the Lord” – halal – Ya (Hallelujah)

o   Helel – to give off light, shine (TWOT 499)

o   Halal – to have deep satisfaction or thanksgiving; boasting, rejoicing (TWOT 500)

o   Praise means to declare with delight; to speak with adoration and affection of God’s comprehensive authority and supreme worth.

Psalm 147 logo - Dec 31 2017

–        Psalmist gives 3 reasons to praise the Lord

1)   For it is good to sing praises to our God.

  1. “tov” good or beautiful
    – Like a man/woman who sings bc they’re in love “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May. Well I’d guess you’d say, What can make me feel this way… My Girl (my girl, my girl), Talking about My Girl”

2)   For it is pleasant.

  1. “na-eem” pleasurable or delightful, sweetly sounding
    – Like at a scenic view on a mountain top looking over hills and valleys, or a sunrise/set, or stars and meteor showers, or eclipse.

3)   A song of praise is fitting.

  1. “naw-veh” fitting or suitable

– Like a patriotic moment such as 4th of July or military honors.

 

è We praise the Lord with our mind.

o   What’s your goals for learning about God in 2018?

  • Creed for new or renewal to the faith
  • 9 Arts for learning how to share faith
  • Equip
  • Bible Groups… bottom shelf for all

o   Bible reading plans?

  • Gospels
  • OT / NT or both
  • Psalms & Proverbs incorporated. 1 Psalm a day would mean read through twice in year. 1 Proverb a day would mean read through 12 times in year.
  • In January 2018, I’m preaching through Habakkuk (locate it 😊)

 

è We praise the Lord with our mouth.

o   Congregational participation.
Saved people are singing people… Singing gives voices to a heart that deeply knows the gospel of grace. It is the overflow of a heart captivated by the gospel. In as many voices that join together to sing, there are as many hearts that are called to know Christ as Lord and Savior.”[1]

  • Psalm 149:1 “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly.”

o   Faith witness. Praising the Lord with our mouth isn’t just about humming a tune or singing a melody, but the intention to speak and share the love of Jesus Christ.

  • Lyrics from African American Spiritual, “There Is A Balm In Gilead”

If you cannot sing like angels,

If you can’t preach like Paul,

You can tell the love of Jesus,

And say He died for all.

à Each One, Reach One…

à 5,000 Gospel Seeds (for 154 members with 1 gospel touch each week will surpass this goal.)

 

è We praise the Lord with our ministry. Worship is about a lifestyle more than music or singing. We worship God best when we devote our life passions and priorities to serving God.

o   What’s your ministry in the church?

o   What’s your ministry beyond the church?

 

We praise the Lord for His unequaled actions (Psalm 147:2 ff).

In this Psalm are 24 actions of the Lord. Based on the setting of this psalm of post-exilic Israel, we can better understand the Lord’s work.

  1. The Lord builds up Jerusalem (147:2)

o   God was faithful to His promises to restore the city of God’s people.

o   Jesus is building His church bc God’s people were unfit to live God’s city; the church is the new Jerusalem so our hope today isn’t about a land but about trusting in the Lord (Gal 3:7-8).

  1. He gathers the outcasts of Israel (147:2)

o   God was forgiving to His people to allow their return to the land.

  1. He heals the brokenhearted (147:3)

o   God’s hope and healing of the brokenhearted Israelites was a reality (cf. Ps 137).

  1. He binds up their wounds (147:3)

o   In contrast to distant kings, God distinctively works to heal binding wounds.

o   Jesus spent much of His time with mourners and needing mending.

Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”

o   Beyond measure – despite our technology and tools with things like the Hubble Telescope, we have limited knowledge. One expert estimates 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way’s estimated 100 billion stars results in a number of 1 with 24 zeros after it.[2]

 

  1. He determines the number of the stars (147:4)
  2. He gives all [stars] their names (147:4) … For $35 you can name a star[3]
  3. The Lord lifts up the humble [afflicted] (147:6)

God the creator of worlds, also cares for wounds and worries. The keeper of the stars is also the caretaker of our hearts. The God of galaxies is not apathetic or arrogant, but is approachable to the humble.

  1. The Lord casts the wicked to the ground (147:6)

 

Psalm 147:7 “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre.”

The more clearly we see our Creator, the more comprehensive our praise should become. We can sing as well as make melody with musical instruments. The Bible, psalms especially, provide multiple examples of instruments (~18)[4] being used in worship: stringed, wind, and percussion.

“Next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our hearts, minds and spirits… A person who… does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs!”[5]

à Would you commit to praying each Wednesday for SPBC Worship Team & Sunday Gatherings?

 

  1. He covers the heavens with clouds (147:8)
  2. He prepares the rain for the earth (147: 8)
  3. He makes grass grow on the hills (147:8)
  4. He gives to the beasts their food
  5. and the young ravens that cry (147:9)
  6. takes pleasure in those who fear him (147:10)
  7. He fills you with the finest of the wheat (147:14)
  8. He sends out his command to the earth (147:15)
  9. His word runs swiftly (147:15)
  10. He gives snow like wool (147:16)
  11. He scatters frost like ashes (147:16)
  12. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs (147:17) 
  13. he makes wind blow
  14. he makers waters flow

o   Who can stand before his cold?

  1. He sends out his word and
  2. melts them (147:18)
  3. He makes his wind blow
  4. and the waters flow (147:18)

 

◊      God provides for His creation: nature and animals, how much more those created in His image? Cf Mt 6:26

◊      God’s constant activity in creation and detailed attention should give us pause to wonder in awe of God. Cf Ps 8; 139; Job 38-41

 Psalm 147:10-11 “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.”

◊      God’s favor is not upon military greatness or material glory, but upon those of fear and faith in the Lord.

è Where is your fear and faith most?

o   What gives you power or pain?

o   Whose acceptance and recognition do you seek weekly?

o   What do you frequently promote or discuss?

o   What brings you life pleasure and satisfaction?

o   What could you not do without [beyond but perhaps not exclusive of relationships]?

 

◊      God is the source of our security: protection, progeny, peace, promise.

  1. He strengthens the bars of your gates (147:13)
  2. He blesses your children within you (147:13)
  3. He makes peace in your borders (147:14)
  4. He declares his word to Jacob,
  5. his statutes and
  6. rules to Israel (147:19)

 

◊      God is personally faithful only to people of faith

Psalm 147:20 “He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules.”

 

APPLY/THINK

What God can do…

–        Purposes to build, strengthen, and bless…

–        Problems or Pains to heal and bind up wounds…

–        People to know His grace and provision…

[1] Keith and Kristyn Getty, Sing: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family and Church, p.21, 31

[2] https://www.space.com/26078-how-many-stars-are-there.html

[3] http://www.starregister.com/

[4] https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/smiths-bible-dictionary/musical-instruments-of-the-hebrews.html

[5] Martin Luther, 1538.

 

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