He Is The Almighty!
Good God Almighty #3
Good God Almighty #3
Let’s listen to a clip from Crowder’s song “Good God Almighty.”
A fifth grade teacher in a Christian school asked her class some time back to look at TV commercials and see if they could use them in some way to communicate ideas about God. Here are some of the results from the kids:
God is like BAYER ASPIRIN ... He works miracles.
God is like a FORD ... He’s got a better idea.
God is like COKE ... He’s the real thing.
God is like HALLMARK CARDS ... He cares enough to send His very best.
God is like TIDE ... He gets the stains out that others leave behind.
God is like GENERAL ELECTRIC ... He brings good things to life.
God is like SEARS ... He has everything.
God is like LIFE CEREAL ... Try Him, you’ll like Him.
God is like SCOTCH TAPE ... You can’t see him, but you know He’s there.
God is like DELTA ... He’s ready when you are.
God is like ALLSTATE ... You’re in good hands with Him.
God is like VO-5 HAIR SPRAY ... He holds through all kinds of weather.
God is like DIAL SOAP ... Aren’t you glad you have Him. Don’t you wish everybody did.
As we continue our look into a few of the Psalms this morning, I want to remind you in the midst of all that is happening in our world - He is God Almighty!
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. 3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. 5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob., 7 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.
He is the creator of it all! (vss. 1-2)
Let’s do a little singalong - “He’s got the whole world - in His hands, He’s got the whole world - in His hands, He’s got the whole world - in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
I think that is the first time I have led that song with a congregation of adults! We teach that concept to our kids when they are pretty little, don’t we? I can remember as a small child trying to understand this concept: that God could be so big that He could hold the whole world in His hands.
Well, I, like you, went to school and they started to teach me about the planets, and the solar system and the galaxy, and the universe, and the scientific discoveries and explanations of it all, and I thought back to that old song that I learned in Sunday School as a kid, and I had to adjust my image. He doesn’t literally hold it all in His hands, as we would pictured that as a child.
Although in the book of Genesis we have a description of the God who created the heavens and the earth, our understanding of how He did that is quite limited. Scientists have often gotten side-tracked by their findings - many have said that their findings would prove that there is no God. But that is because they don’t really understand God! In all fairness to the scientists, I have been studying about God my whole life, and I know that we will never fully figure out God!
Scientifically, we have begun to understand some of the way that the universe works. We have figured out an immense amount about how things work here on earth, but scientists would tell you that there are still many many more things that we just do not understand.
What do we believe about this creator God? We sometimes overly complicate this issue as if the book of Genesis was written as a scientific book that explains how God created the heavens and the earth. The truth is that it is not a scientific book - it has science in it, but it is not a scientific book. If God had explained to Moses scientifically how He created everything, Moses would not have been able to understand even a little bit.
Put very simply, what we believe about creation is simply that God created everything. There is nothing that exists that God did not create! That doesn’t mean that he created the evil things that people have done with the creation. People have taken what He created and manipulated things to invent things, but only God creates!
This is the statement concerning creation from the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene in our most recent update: “The Church of the Nazarene believes in the biblical account of creation (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”—Genesis 1:1). We are open to scientific explanations on the nature of creation while opposing any interpretation of the origin of the universe and of humankind that rejects God as the Creator.”
We are unworthy! (vss. 3-6)
David asks the question, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The answer given is: “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.”
Over the last 15 months or so, the Covid-19 year, the number one piece of advice we’ve heard more than anything else is: wash your hands. I’m sure you’ve heard it again and again. The whole world is just crazy about washing their hands right now, which is a good thing, especially during a pandemic. But, apparently it isn’t enough to simply tell people to wash their hands. Oh, no. Public restrooms, news sites, and social media have bombarded us with visual aids, charts, and instructions on how to properly wash your hands. The thing I’ve found most entertaining is that experts recommend washing your hands for 20 seconds and there has been a whole host of recommended songs you can sing while washing your hands to help you keep track of time. Recommendations include everything from the ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or the one I used most of the time was to sing happy birthday. Some suggestions are more humorous, like the chorus from Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees or REM’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter what song you sing, as long as your hands get clean, right? This isn’t the first time we’ve been reminded to wash our hands, either. It seems like every flu season and every time there’s a viral threat, the media, health officials, and even the President go on national television to remind citizens everywhere to wash their hands. It’s such a simple, common sense thing to do, but it really does help stop the spread of germs and bacteria. But our passage from the scripture this morning is not just talking about washing your hands before you enter in to worship - even though that isn’t a bad idea either.
Sometimes referring to clean hands is an indication that you are doing the right things in your life. It is an indication of personal piety or holiness.
What’s interesting to me about this phrase in this passage is that this is David we’re talking about. Yeah, he was the king of Israel - he was even known as “a man after God’s own heart.” We’ll be looking in on this man after God’s own heart in our sermon series for July and August that I have titled: “A Man After God’s Own Heart.”
What’s interesting though for our passage this morning is that David didn’t really have clean hands or a pure heart. If you know his story, you know that he failed -miserably - committing adultery & causing the death of the man whose wife he had cheated with. David’s hands were anything but clean - his heart was anything but pure in that situation.
What does it mean to have clean hands and pure hearts? Clean hands indicate a life well lived - a life of purity. A pure heart speaks to the inner life and our attitudes.
Clearly, David wouldn’t have qualified - truth is none of us do either! Paul says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” None of us really have clean hands and a pure heart. We are not worthy to approach Him in worship.
But there was one who was worthy - who has pure hands and a clean heart? Only Jesus - He is the one that is worthy. When He gave His life on Calvary, He did it for you and for me. All of our sins were paid for by His sacrifice.
Because of His sacrifice, all of us can enter in to worship our God with clean hands and a pure heart. He cleanses us and wipes away every sin if we will accept what He did on our behalf.
He is the King of Glory? (vss. 7-10)
We have been focusing during these weeks on the nature of our God - that He is Good God Almighty. We have a fascination for the strong - the mighty.
We will soon be able to watch the Summer Olympics, and athletes from around the world will participate in all kinds of events displaying their physical abilities - their speed, agility, and yes, even their mighty strength.
In wars of old, there was a great deal of bloodshed because of the mighty warriors that clashed with one another. Today, it seems that it is more about the mighty machinery that opposing armies use, but it is still about the mighty.
He is Almighty - beyond any power or authority or kingdom or country that has ever been or ever will be.
Yet, the passage before us this morning focuses on another word - “Glory!” It is the Hebrew word “kabod.” It appears about 200 times in the Old Testament. Kabod refers to the great physical weight or “quantity” of a thing, but the word does not mean simply “heavy,” but “fullness,” “excellence” and “meritoriousness.” He is the heavyweight; fully packed and fully backed. In the New Testament, the difference between the glory of Christ and the glory of His creation is simply that his glory is eternal (1 Peter 5:10) and great (Matt 24:30).
To understand the King of glory, we have to go back to the word we have been focusing on which is Almighty! What does it mean to say the Lord is strong? Is he strong like coffee or medicine? Is he as strong as an ox? Like Samson or Hercules? One preacher described His strength this way: “The word “strong” and the word “mighty” are common words in the Bible but the phrase “strong and mighty” is exclusive to the King of glory. The word “strong” is not the regular Hebrew word for “strong” that occurs 92 times in the Bible; this word is used only twice (Ps 24:8, Is 43:17), meaning not only strong but forcible, used for an army. It comes from the root idea of prevailing or overpowering (Judg 6:2, Ps 9:19), overpowering (Judg 3:10) and triumphant (Ps 9:19, Dan 11:12). God is not only strong, but He is unstoppable, uncontrollable and untiring. He’ll come as a one-person army, a lone ranger, a wandering swordsman. It’ll be the most lopsided one-on-one win. He’ll be the heavy favorite, crushing enemies single-handedly. The Lord is a one-person wrecking ball, crew and machine.
When Mike Kollin was a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins and a graduate of Auburn University, his former college coach, Shug Jordan, asked him if he would do some recruiting for him. Mike said, “Sure, coach. What kind of player are you looking for?” The coach said, “Well, Mike, you know there’s that fellow, you knock him down, he just stays down?” Mike said, “We don’t want him, do we, coach?” “No, that’s right. Then there’s that fellow, you knock him down and he gets up, but you knock him down again and he stays down.” Mike answered, “We don’t want him either, do we, coach?” Coach said, “No, but Mike, there’s a fellow, you knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up.” Mike said, “That’s the guy we want, isn’t it, coach?” The coach answered, “No, we don’t want him either. I want you to find that guy who’s knocking everybody down. That’s the guy we want!” (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited p. 466, Tyndale).
Conclusion: The Westminster Confession says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” There is only one occasion of “great power and glory” in the Bible attested by the gospels - when the Son of Man comes (Matt 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27) to claim His regal title as “King of kings and Lord of lord” (1 Tim 6:15, Rev 19:16). When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and the scripture tells us he will separate the sheep from the goats (Matt 25:31-32). All the nations of the earth will mourn when they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory (Matt 24:30), and He will reward each person according to what he has done (Matt 16:27). Then we will behold the glory of the Son of God that is forever (Rom 11:36, 16:27, Gal 1:5, Eph 3:21, Phil 4:20, 1 Tim 1:17, Heb 13:21, 1 Peter 4:11, 5:11, 2 Peter 3:18, Rev 1:6). Jesus says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). Philippians 2:9-11 read: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The New International Version. (2011). (Php 2:9–11). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
In closing, I want to ask you just 1 question: Are you going to live your life to bring honor and glory to Him now, or are you going to be forced to bow down to Him later? He is coming again, this King of Glory! Are you ready?