Faithlife Sermons

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*Praying and Living a High View of God and His Word (Psalm 119:73-80)*
/Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on December 14, 2008/
www.goldcountrybaptist.org
A high view of God and His Word is the only way you will be able to survive and thrive spiritually through affliction and trials, as the writer of this Psalm did.
If your God is small, your problems will seem very big and overpowering to you.
But if your God is big, glorious, weighty, dazzling, truly sovereign, supreme, satisfying, magnificent, and massive – the God of Scripture – your problems will seem much smaller in comparison.
This truth drives my life.
When we went through a series on the Attributes of God last year, I said this then and I believe it even more now as I have studied Scripture more: “The most important thing about you is what comes to your mind when you think of God.”  A.
W. Tozer said that in the opening line of /Knowldege of the Holy /and he went on to talk about how the level of any church or individual’s life is strong or weak in direct proportion to its view of God, and will rise and fall depending on the level of its thoughts of God.
He also said:
 
“Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God … our Christianity is weak because our god is weak.”[1]
* *
Equally important is our view of God’s Word.
What we do and how we live and how we pray and how we do ministry reveals what we /really /believe about God and His Word.
Many will affirm in their doctrinal statements that the Bible is inspired and infallible and without errors and that it is sufficient and powerful, but in reality they depart from that in life and in ministry.
If I for example don’t preach Scripture verse-by-verse expositorily regularly contextually faithfully, or if I substitute all kinds of things other than God’s Word and have little biblical content in my messages, I’m communicating to you that I’m not firmly convinced that God’s Word is sufficient and has the power it says it does without man’s clever ingenuity and inventions.
If you affirm the right truths yourselves about the sovereignty of God and the sufficiency of God’s Word’s, but then in difficulties you habitually and consistently turn away from those truths to other things, that’s showing where your trust and heart really is.
 
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is [profitable – i.e., sufficient] for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
This is why I am committed to expository preaching, which means taking a passage of Scripture (usually one primary passage) and studying it deeply in its context and culture, paying attention to language and grammar and every tool I can to comprehend and then communicate -- not what I think, or what it means /to me /in my subjective feelings -- but to convey as best I can the original intent by the original author to the original audience in the original language and original context, and then explaining or expounding it with elucidation, illustration, and application to our context today.
That’s what I understand preaching is, or should be.
The reason I take so much time to study and pay attention to details and do word studies and look up what individual words mean is because I am convinced /all Scripture /is inspired and profitable, as God says it is.
We believe in verbal-plenary inspiration (every word is inspired).
Even little details like a singular instead of a plural form of a word carry significance:
 
Galatians 3:16 (NASB95) 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.
He does not say, “And to seeds,” as /referring /to many, but /rather /to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.
Even the tenses of verbs are significant to our Lord.
“/some /Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him … But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures … regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: ‘*I am* the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
[I AM not “/I was” /proves] He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
When the crowds heard /this, /they were astonished at His teaching.
(Matthew 22:23, 29-33)
 
Even to the smallest details, the smallest strokes of smallest letters:
 
Matthew 5:18 (NKJV) 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, *one jot* or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
That statement actually ties in with our expository study of Psalm 119 bringing us to the 10th stanza, verses 73-80.
The word “jot” is the Greek word /iota, /which the Hebrews may have pronounced as yoda – the corresponding Hebrew letter is yodh.
YODH is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet and it begins each letter of this stanza through verse 80.
The letter YODH may be very small, but this passage has very big truths about our God and the greatness of His inspired, infallible, inerrant, and infinitely sufficient Word
     *73*     Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
74     May those who fear You see me and be glad, Because I wait for Your word.
75     I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76     O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, According to Your word to Your servant.
77     May Your compassion come to me that I may live, For Your law is my delight.
78     May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; /But /I shall meditate on Your precepts.
79     May those who fear You turn to me, Even those who know Your testimonies.
80     May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, So that I will not be ashamed.
The writer of this Psalm prayed and lived with a high view of God and His Word, and by the inspiration of God this Psalm should instill the same in us as well.
*REMEMBER WHO GOD IS (4 truths, 4 attributes of God)*
*1.
God is Creator (v.
73)*
 
“Your hands made me and fashioned me” – God is not only the Creator in general, He personally created and formed and fashioned each one of us, which is emphasized when it says “/Your /hands.”
God’s work in creation is called “the work of His fingers.”
Psalm 8:3-6 (NKJV) 3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained [/same word as “made” in 119:73/], 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels
 
It makes a difference if you believe in a personal Creator or the evolutionary views of our world.
I read a story about historian Thomas Carlyle when he was at a meeting of learned scholars of the world where the problem of man’s origins was being discussed, and he was asked to give his opinion.
I like how he replied: “Gentlemen, you place man a little higher than the tadpole.
I hold with the ancient singer: ‘You have made him a little lower than the angels.’”[2]
The dignity and sanctity of life’s starting point is that God is intimately involved in our formation and creation in His image.
Psalm 139:13-17 (NASB95) 13 For *You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.*
14 I will give thanks to You, for *I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works*, And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You, When *I was made in secret*, /And /*skillfully wrought* in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And *in Your book were all written The days that were ordained /for me,/ When as yet there was not one of them*.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
           
3 Implications ~/ Applications of God being our Creator:
*/He owns us /*
Psalm 100:3 (NASB95) 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; /We are /His people and the sheep of His pasture.
*/He is in charge of us/*
Amazingly, David prayed in Psalm 139 that God has a book where He has written all the days that were ordained for him before any of them had happened!
Paul affirmed in Acts 17 how in charge God is: “The God who made the world and all things in it … He Himself gives to all /people/ life and breath and all things; and He made from one /man/ every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined /their /appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation (v.
24-26, NASB95)
 
God as Creator and owner of us is in control and sovereign over those details.
We’re not in charge.
God is God and we are not.
The Bible says even before God created any of us, before the foundation of the world, He elected to save some sinners out of the world for His glory, Ephesians 1:4-6, says and v. 11 of that chapter says God sovereignly works /all things/ after the counsel of His will.
Here in Psalm 119:73, the word “fashioned” has to do with establishing, or constituting us; in other words God “made me what I am … God knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves, since He has sovereignly overseen the framing of our personalities and potentialities.”[3]
*/3rd implication of Creator: We are dependent upon Him/*
Psalm 119:73b Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
God did not create mankind like the beasts, which have no understanding, Scripture says God created us in His image to glorify, know and /understand God/, so here he prays for more.
-         You gave me the ability to stand, please give me the ability to understand truly (including the biblical sense of “obey”)
-         You fashioned this vessel, now fill it with Your knowledge
-         You caused me to live, now cause me to learn Your truth.
-         You made my mind, now please move my mind to understand and learn Your Word and love it more.
-         You made me, now make me what I ought to be.
-         Your hands had the power to make me the first time, surely You can now /remake /me to overcome the effects of sin that have ruined Your creation and which still mar Your image.
-         My initial creation by you was an amazing miracle of incredible skill, continue Your work in this new creation of Yours.
Continue to shape this new heart You’ve given me.
-         You’re the Potter; I’m in need of a lot of finishing touches and it’s going to be through the teaching of Your Word.
Psalm 138:8 “/forsake not the work of thine own hands/” (KJV)
 
It was said of Queen Elizabeth that in light of this verse she prayed “Oh, look upon the /wounds /of thine hands, and forget not the /work /of thine hands.”
As Christians we understand that the  hands that created us were crucified for us.
Even true believers need their Savior to open their eyes and minds and to give them understanding so that they can learn and be taught deeper truths from God’s Word.
Remember the disciples of Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24?
The resurrected Lord opened the Scriptures to them as they talked and opened their minds to give them understanding of what those Scriptures said about Christ, even though they may have heard them many times.
He opened their minds, later opened their eyes to recognize Him, and it says their hearts were burning within them as He did so.
If you’ve been a Christian any number of years, I trust you’ve experienced this many times in passages you had read many times before, that all of a sudden for the first time God opens your eyes to see a truth that has always been there but you missed it before.
That’s what this psalm prays for often (ex: v. 18 “open my eyes”).
This prayer “give me understanding” is repeated 6x in this Psalm, a prayer for God to grant practical perception for real life, even in the midst of life’s many pressures.
This godly believer never seems to reach the place where he doesn’t recognize his need for constant teaching and God-given understanding.
He asks for understanding here, it says at the end of the verse “that I may learn Your commandments.”
Again and again he writes of his need to understand, to be taught, so he can learn and live God’s good law.
* *
 
“Teach me” is a phrase we see 22x in the Bible, and /half of all those occurrences are all in this one chapter!/
11x in Psalm 119, he cries out “Teach me!”
Is that your cry? Are you hungry for God’s teaching?
This spiritual godly man who wrote this obviously was not where he was spiritually without the teaching of God’s Word and he constantly desired more teaching every chance he got.
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