Introduction: Reading Psalm 119:145-152 and marking some key words.
The nature of God and whole hearted prayer.
What to cry out for?
Salvation (146a) This implies a heart that understand that we need rescue.
Help (147a) This implies a heart that understand that we need help.
Life (149b) This implies a heart that understand that we need help.
Transition: What we pray for reveals something of what we believe about God.
If I don't think I need God’s rescue, help and life then its obvious that I wont ask Him for that.
Often is is our sin of pride that keeps us from prayer.
II Chronicles 7:14 tells us...
How to cry out?
whole heart (145)
to obey(145b, 146b)
to meditate (148b)
sacrificial persistence (147, 148) This is much like the passage from Luke that we read before our prayer time today.
Keep asking, keep, seeking, keep knocking.
see in verse 147b that he hopes in God’s word, but also that hope is being demonstrated by his asking God to hear his prayer...
according to the character of God.
And this is where we find our main point.
Transition: Because of who God is, we can cry out to Him with whole hearted confidence.
For the remainder of our time this morning we are going to discover four characteristics of God that are revealed in these 8 verses that help our confidence in crying out to God with our whole heart.
If you have read chapter two in the “what is a healthy church member” book you might recall that a healthy church member is a biblical theologian.
What does that mean?
Our thoughts of God should come from God Himself.
Our understanding of what He is like should not come from our own determination but rather from God’s word.
Further, what we find in this stanza this morning is a perfect example of how right theology influences right obedience.
Specifically, how the nature and character of God as revealed in Scripture grants confidence in prayer.
What do we discover about nature of God?
1. God is personal
In verses 145, 149, & 151 David uses the name of God Yahwe, translated in our English Bibles as Lord.
This repetition is important to notice because this is the name that God revealed to Israel through Moses.
Moses was the prophet that God used to write the first five books of the Old testament.
When God made His name “Yahwe” known he was letting the nation of Israel know that he is a relational God.
That He is speaking to them, and that He is revealing to them what He is like.
By repeating the name of Yahwe David helps us to identify that the One to whom we cry out to with all our hearts is a personal God.
He is the God of the law of Moses.
He is not hidden.
He is not obscure, but rather He is a relational God who has spoken and revealed Himself.
How is God personal?
One obvious way is that He has spoken, and his words are true and eternal.
(see verses 151b &152) The character or nature of God’s word reflects the nature of God Himself.
His word is true and eternal because God is true and eternal.
But also please notice that God has especially spoken in His Son Jesus the Christ.
Turn to Hebrews 1:1-3
Transition: Because Yahwe is personal we can confidently cry out to Him with our whole heart.
Secondly, notice that God…
2. God is love (read verse 149a)
David is asking the Lord to answer him on the basis of God’s steadfast love.
We have seen this term, “hesed” used several times so far in Psalm 119.
It simply means the loyal, covenant love of God.
It is the unmerited, unconditional, promised love of God that is always faithful and never ending.
It reminds us that as we pray, we are praying to a personal God who will hear us according to His loyal love and not according to our ability to pray the right words, or express the right tone, or perform the right method.
No, rather we cry out to God from our whole heart and know that because He is love he will answer.
God has demonstrated great love toward us, even As we read in Romans 5:8 (read) and so we know that when we are in Christ we can cast all our care on Him because He cares for us.
Do you realize how extravagantly God loves you today?
Let that truth about who He is guide you in the way you cry out to Him from your whole heart.
Transition: Not only does God personally answer, and not only does he care, but He always lovingly communicates correctly.
3. God is just (read verse 149b)
God is right.
He always judges fairly without showing favoritism.
He is perfect in justice.
We can cry out to Him with our whole heart and wait expectantly for a just response.
How has God shown Himself just?
Turn with me to a passage that was on our 30 day reading plan this week.
Romans 3:21-26 (have someone read)
God has proven in Christ to be perfectly just in what He demands, and the perfect justifier by dying as the perfect sacrifice that meets those demands.
4. God is near (read verses 150-151 again)
He is always near and true.
We desperately need the constant nearness of God’s word because we are also constantly approached by the wicked.
We need the continual flow from the waters of God’s entire truth because we are swimming in the infested waters of the plans of the evil one.
God is nearer than the penetrating persecution of evil, and this reminder is why we need a consistent feeding on his eternal word.
How is God near?
Turn with me to John 14:15-17
God is certainly near in that He is always present everywhere.
He is unlimited in His access to all of His creation.
However, He is especially near to those who are in Christ because we are His temple, His dwelling place.
When we are converted, we are born again by the holy Spirit.
Which means God the Holy Spirit takes up residence with our Spirit and testifies that we are children of God.He cannot be any nearer than that.
As a result, when we pray we pray to the God who is near.
The way I think about God will impact how I approach Him in prayer.
Conclusion: If I understand God as the personal, loving, just, near Father of all creation then I should be quick to crawl up in His lap with trembling confidence and pour out my whole heart.
We will never pour out our whole heart to God if we believe him to be impersonal, un-loving, un-just, and far away.
Perhaps, the reason our prayers are half hearted is because our confidence in the nature of God is only half hearted?
If our view of God is low, so too will be our enjoyment of God in prayer.
If my thoughts of God are wrong, so too will be my motive and requests.
If my heart is cold toward God, so too will be the cry of my heart.
However, if we thinking about God according to the way He has revealed Himself in His word, then we will passionately, persistently, and confidently cry out to Him with our whole heart.
Practice with closing corporate prayer together.
This is not about being loud, its not about being long.
rather it is pouring out the honest cares of our heart to a God who is personally loving us and will justly be near us as we empty our heart out to Him.