Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The God Who Keeps Us

Psalm 65:1-13

To the chief Musician, A Psalm and Song of David.

“Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.  O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:1-2)

God deserves our praise every day, but David is describing a special time of praise and worship, when he will be especially honored in Jerusalem.   People will keep their commitments to God, thankful that he hears their prayers, and even the wicked will come to worship. While he spoke of his day he also looked forward to the prophecy in Isaiah 45:23-24.  “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.”  The prophecy is refined and repeated in Romans 14 and Philippians 2, making it clear it is about the Lord’s return.
“Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.  Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.” (Psalm 65:3-4)

Even the strongest Christian sometimes struggles with sin, as Paul describes in Romans 7:18-25.  “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.   For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” 

Though we will never reach a state where we are not tempted by sin on thei earth, we have the assurance of God’s forgiveness and cleansing through Christ, as I John 1:9 promises.  The result is that we can have assurance of our eternal salvation even though we sin from time to time.   Our place in heave is assured.  John 10:27-30 makes this very clear.  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  I and my Father are one.”  Our eternal security is based on God’s power to forgive rather than our good behavior.   As I Peter 1:5 puts it,  We “…are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

“By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.   They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.“ (Psalm 65:5-7)

The God who keeps us is the same God who answers with amazing and marvelous miracles, who saves us and the entire world depends on.   He is the God who keeps the mountains standing in the proper place, and controls the waves of the sea and the conflicts and fighting among people,  frightening them with the signs of his power in nature.    

 “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.  Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.  Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.  They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.  The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.” (Psalm 65:9-13)

God didn’t just set the world in motion and leave it to take care of itself.  He is actively involved in every detail.  He controls the level of the rivers, and causes food to grow where he provided water and soil for it.  He sends the rain to soften the earth and to water the plants, and causes the seeds to germinate and grow.  The year is full of good things and they overflow to those around.  The flocks grow abundantly because of his blessing and the valleys are filled with plants.  All of nature sings with pleasure.  

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