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On the Right Side of HIS Story

Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:46
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It is becoming increasingly common for those who call themselves “progressives” to warn Christians that they are on “the wrong side of history.” They don’t call themselves “Progressives” for nothing, they view everything in the past, especially our Judeo-Christian heritage as backwards and out-of-date. They see Secular Humanism as moving history forward to bigger and better things.
While it is still debatable whether or not their agenda is “progress”, most would agree that they seem to be winning. For many American Christians it seems like we have awakened from a deep sleep to find ourselves in a strange land! What we are experiencing is what the children of Israel must have experienced in Egypt.
When they first arrived in Egypt, they enjoyed a favored status. Joseph their brother, was viceroy of Egypt. The children of Israel were given the best land to live in and there they prospered and multiplied! Then the “dream” ended, and they woke up to a nightmare! A Pharaoh who did not “remember” Joseph came to power and they were enslaved for 400 years! This is the historical situation our Psalm this morning opens with.
Psalm 114:1–2 ESV
When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
The “house of Jacob” was dwelling among “a people of strange language.” This means more than the fact that Israel spoke Hebrew and the Egyptians spoke Egyptian, it means they were speaking from two different hearts. Our words are more than mere phonics, they are mirrors into our hearts. Jesus once said,
Matthew 12:34 ESV
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Philip Ross in his commentary on Psalm 114 writes, “Israel lived under a double oppression; yes physical, but also spiritual. They live, not just under the crack of the whip, but also the lash of the tongue. Little wonder the people ‘groaned’ and cried to God for rescue. God heard. God remembered his covenant. God saw. God knew (Exod. 2: 24– 5). How does he see? How does he know? He sees and he knows because he is there with them. ‘Judah was his sanctuary, Israel his dominion’ (v. 2). Judah, Israel, the house of Jacob, are all ways of speaking of God’s people. Pharaoh sits on his throne and extends his dominion, but where is the God of Psalm 113, who dwells on high? He is making himself low, establishing a sanctuary for himself among the poor Israelites, seemingly allowing Israel—‘ his dominion’— to come under the dominion of a genocidal tyrant. He sees. He knows. They groan. And does his Spirit not groan with them?”
You see, the burning question every person needs to ask is not: “Is history on my side?” but rather: “Is God on my side?” The great truth of Psalm 114 is this: God is on the side of His People!

The God Who is on the Side of His People

The Exodus story did not begin with Moses or even Joseph, it began with Abraham. God came to Abram a second time in order make a covenant with him, having instructed Abram to prepare the sacrifices for the cutting of a covenant, a deep darkness fell and...
Genesis 15:13–14 ESV
Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
Do you see the significance of this? The oppression and suffering of the children of Israel in Egypt was not a surprise to God, it was all a part of His plan. God had ordained His people’s pain, but more importantly, we learn from Psalm 114, that because God had made Israel his sanctuary and dominion, he was ordaining His own pain!
This is seen most clearly in the second great redemptive event of recorded in the Bible—the Cross.
As with the Exodus, the Cross was no surprise to God, it was all a part of His plan. Twice in the book of Acts, God makes this point clear. First Acts 2:23:
Acts 2:23 ESV
this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Secondly, Acts 4:27-28:
Acts 4:27–28 ESV
for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
History is in God’s hands and God is on the side of His people!
Both the Exodus and the Cross teach us that God is not a God who hears and sees from afar, but He is a God who hears and sees “up close and personal.” In the Incarnation Jesus took on our flesh and blood. During His life He took on the burden of perfect obedience to the Law. On the Cross, He took our sin and guilt. In His death, He tasted death for each of us. In His resurrection He gave us an indestructible life and finally, in His ascension, He shares with us His glory!
The next section of Psalm 114 teaches us that God is so determined to deliver His people that He will move heaven and earth!

The God Who Moves Heaven and Earth

Let us refresh our memories as to what these four verses say.
Psalm 114:3–6 ESV
The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?
What a beautiful and vivid way of reminding us of the power of God. The psalmist is of course referring to the parting of the Red Sea, the damming up of the Jordan River and the earthquakes at Mount Sinai. The psalmist personalized these events, not only because it is poetically beautiful, but more importantly he is speaking against the personal, human oppressor of His people.
In the story of the Exodus, Pharaoh and his people had hardened their hearts against God and God’s people. Moses, when he wrote the book of Exodus, goes to great lengths to show that what was really going on was a war between the false gods of the Egyptians and the true God of Israel. There are really only two types of people in this world, those who worship the Creator and those who worship the created things (including man himself). In the Seven Plagues, God defeated the seven “nature gods” of Egypt. At the Red Sea, God defeated Pharaoh, who imagined himself to be a god.
This war was still going on at the time of Jesus, in Acts 4:27, which I read from earlier, it says “there gathered together against Jesus, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel.” Don’t you see, the whole world was going against Jesus. I can imagine them saying to Jesus and His disciples, “Get with the program, you are on the wrong side of history.” But how wrong they were. When God delivered His people through Jesus, heaven and earth were moved once again!
At the moment Jesus died, Matthew records:
Matthew 27:51 ESV
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
And then when He was resurrected:
Matthew 28:2 ESV
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
The Cross will not be the last time God moves heaven and earth to deliver His people. In the book of Revelation, we read:
Revelation 6:14–17 ESV
The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
This brings to the final two verses of this psalm.
Psalm 114:7–8 ESV
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.
These verses ask us the most important question that can be asked:

Are You on the Right Side of HIS Story?

Today we have seen the power of a God who will move heaven and earth to redeem His people. Today we hear the pundits accusing Christians of being “on the wrong side of history.” Those who say such things are as blind as Pharaoh was. History is in God’s hands and to be on the wrong side of God is to be on the wrong side of history!
If you remember, I said at the beginning of this series on the Psalms that Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 are the keys to unlocking all the other Psalms. Let me read from Psalm 2:11-12 again.
Psalm 2:11–12 ESV
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
These two verses teach us that each of us has a choice, we can either worship and serve Jesus with fear and trembling or we can tremble with fear when Christ comes to judge the world. This judgement is closer than you think. In the book of Hebrews, we read these sobering words:
Hebrews 9:27 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
When we look at the great span of history, even the youngest amongst us will die soon. What is 70, 80 or even 100 years? It is a blink of the eye. Someday soon you will close your eyes in death, when you opening them again will you face Heaven or Hell?
Let us pray.
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