Volume 46, No. 27
Sermon prepared by Rev. Gilbert Kamps, Red Deer, Alta.
(For the dear servant of God who will read this sermon to God’s people. Read the message over. Please take the time to have the outline copied and either placed in the bulletin, or handed out just before you preach. Without the outline, people will wonder [wander?] all over the place. But with it, they’ll be able to follow exactly what God is saying to them, through your voice. Take careful note when you have to call people to fill in something on their outline. I think it would communicate best if you simply follow the guidelines that I have placed in the sermon text itself. Thank you for helping God’s people be all they can be for Jesus.)
It is a great thing to listen to godly men and women who speak towards the end of their lives on earth. We often like to hear the testimonies of people who are popular or who are big shots, in the eyes of the world. We like those testimonies because it’s exciting; there’s lots of flair. But it is much more beneficial for us to listen to the last words of men and women who have faithfully walked with God for decades. That is why the reading of biographies is so important.
The Bible contains many of these testimonies. In Luke 2 old man Simeon in the temple gets to see with his own feeble eyes God’s promised Messiah, the Saviour. He sees baby Jesus and speaks a testimony, “Now I am ready to depart.”
In 2 Timothy 4 the Apostle Paul is within weeks — maybe days — of his death. That chapter in the Bible contains his thoughts.
In Ecclesiastes 12 we have the words of Solomon, reflecting on his life: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
In Genesis 50 we hear feeble old Joseph speak his last words.
What kind of legacy are you going to leave your children and grandchildren?
I like to picture myself on my deathbed. The children and grandchildren are gathered around. Some are crying. Then I make a sigh and one of my children says, “Shh [reader: speak this slowly and dramatically], shh, the patriarch is about to speak.” Then I impart to them some great words of wisdom, and I expire.
The point is: The kind of testimony you are going to leave 5 years, 10 years, 40 years, or 60 years from now, depends 100% on whether you come to know the God revealed on the pages of the Bible. You come to love him and serve him because he’s been gracious to you. His Word, your light. His Spirit, your power. His name, your focus. Live that way. Then when it comes your time to die, you’ll have something to leave your children and grandchildren.
This morning we listen to the words of David in Psalm 18. He’s an old man. He’s reflecting on his entire life. Much of this psalm is the same as 2 Samuel 22:1-51. In fact, exactly the same, except for the opening line. The Psalm begins, “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” This line is not found in 2 Samuel. It is here in the Psalms because the psalms are used for worship. While in worship, David begins his reflection on his life with his testimony, “I love you.”
As we move our way through all of Psalm 18, you can keep the little outline in front of you and fill in the blanks. This will help you understand the message of Psalm 18.
Let me add this comment yet before we work our way through this Psalm of David. Someone has said that when you get to know who God is according to the Bible, 95% of the rest of your life falls quickly into place. The key phrase in that statement is: “according to the Bible.” We need to know the God the Bible reveals. Not the God of people’s opinions. Many people have opinions on who God is, what he ought to do, what they would do if they were God. We want a God we can live with according to our agenda and our ideas.
We need to come to know the God the Bible reveals. Put another way: We need to come to know the God that God himself reveals. Come to know that God and I think you and I will stand in awe of his infinite power, love, faithfulness, justice, truth, and compassion. The question then is not: “What do you think about God?” But the question becomes, “What does God think about you?”
The first question allows us to be arrogant, self-righteous and to speak all on our own. The second question causes us to put our hands over our mouths, and our ears attentive, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
We now listen to the God David confesses he knows.
Psalm 18:1-3: The Introduction — David’s Profession of FAITH (the fill-in-the-blank answer) (Read 18:1-3)
We now move to the first main section of the body of the Psalm. What does David say that he knows about God? Verses 4-15 tell us that God is ANGRY (fill in) (Read 18:4-15 mention that “from his temple” vs. 6 does not mean a building, but from heaven. Mention too that all the description of the turbulence in the creation is a response of God’s anger).
After David confesses that God is angry and that he comes in justice, David rejoices in the next section.
As we read 18:29-36 you will see that God SAVES (fill-in). Notice from these verses that the subject is God, and David is the recipient of God’s actions to save. Verses 16-24 are David’s personal confession that God saves him, and verses 25-28 that God saves all his people. (Read 18:16-28)
Is this the end? God is justly angry, but He saves His people? No, old man David knew something else about God.
As we read 18:29-36 we will see that the God who saves, now also EQUIPS us for BATTLE (the fill-in words) (Read 18:29-36)
The just and holy God who is angry, saves, equips his people for battle, and now towards the end of the Psalm we see old man David always acknowledging, God gives His people VICTORY (fill-in) (Read 18:37-45)
The Psalm ends with a Summary 18:46-48 Who God is. 18:49-50 How I will live wherever I go and how my descendants will live.
Now we are going to circle back with what I have labelled on your outline as:
Some additional thoughts from this Psalm
When we combine 18:7 “the Lord is angry” & 18:41 “That though people cry out to God, He does not hear,” we learn this: A great many people have been tossing prayers up to God the last few weeks of September 2001. The bombings in New York and Washington DC have jolted the world. And prayers are offered. But is there genuine repentance over my sins and the sins of my nation? Is there sorrow over my sins and the sins of my nation?
These couple verses teach us that God does not hear just because people toss up His name. The many “Oh my God’s” that were uttered, is not repentance.
When we combine the verses 18:19 (read it again) where it says, God DELIGHTS (the fill-in) in His people.
We combine that with 18:20, 25-27 (read those verses again) God never DISAPPOINTS His people. Then we have a powerful doctrine of Who God is according to His Word.
Some of you may be questioning these last few lines: God DELIGHTS in His people, and God never DISAPPOINTS His people. Is that true? How can you say that? You may be saying, “I know stories where Christians have had huge disappointments with God.” You may be saying, “I have had huge disappoint-ments with God.”
But we are able with old David to affirm that God delights in and never disappoints His people. In order to see these truths, you and I need to see that at length God always deals graciously with and for His people.
We need to see the big picture. Unless we see the big picture, “God will never disappoint those who trust in Him and obey His will” we will not be able to persevere under the test of prosperity or the trial of suffering. David persevered under both prosperity and adversity. Why? Because he saw the big picture. So did the Apostle Paul. And the record of the men and women of faith whose names are written in Hebrews 11 also saw the big picture.
Let me personalize this: suppose you received word that I, your pastor, was diagnosed this past week with a terminal illness. The medical servants guess that I will have 90 days to live. In this case, what would you do? Here is what I would want you to do. Meet together once, or twice, maybe three times — but not more than that— to ask God for physical healing for your pastor. Then don’t pray for physical healing anymore. The Lord heard your prayers the first time. But I’d want you to pray daily that my faith would not waver, and that through these trying times as my life on earth is coming to an end, God would use me even more than ever before to bring glory and praise and worship to His holy name.
Here is a picture for you to bring this all home in your gray matter, in your brain. Picture yourself sitting on a lawn chair at the beach. You are the only one on the whole beach. (Can you see yourself there now?) From where you are sitting in your chair it is about 100 metres to the ocean. Between you and the water is all sand. Then as you look north, as far as you can see, it’s all sand, acres and acres, miles of sand. Then you turn to look south, and it’s all sand.
Now imagine one sea gull. That sea gull comes and picks up one grain, just one grain, of sand. The gull flies away with that grain of sand and drops it on a mountain. Let’s say that the sea gull does this, once a year. Just one grain of sand, once a year.
Now picture in your mind that entire beach cleared of sand, by the sea gull.
Here’s the question: How many years would it take for that sea gull, picking up one grain of sand, one time a year, to empty that entire beach? [pause to let people answer the question in their own minds.]
The answer is: billions of years. It is a very old sea gull.
Here’s the point: That is just the beginning of eternity.
Now plug in our statement from David’s legacy to us in Psalm 18: God both DELIGHTS in His people and God never DISAPPOINTS His people.
Let me ask you again: Do you know who God is according to the Bible?
Combine 18:32-34 (read out loud again, please) and Ephesians 6:10-18 (don’t read this during the message. Encourage people to read it sometime today.) Here is where Paul talks about the equipment God provides so that His people can take their stand against the devil and his schemes. God’s people are in BATTLE (the fill-in).
Combine that with 18:17 (read it). Our enemies are TOO STRONG FOR US.
If you think you are going to win the battle over lust that comes at you in a hundred different ways in our culture, you are very wrong. You will be painfully wrong if you think you can win this battle over lust.
Do you think you can win the battle over self-centeredness? The battle over self-esteem? The battle over consumerism? You and I can’t win these battles. Why? Because just like David said, these enemies are too strong for us.
Notice the words of Psalm 124:4 that are on your outline: “If the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive.”
Are we really all that victorious? Psalm 18:45 (read again)
David won many battles. Then, David was established as king. But this Psalm is not merely about David and the legacy he left. It is about Jesus, the great Son of David. And Jesus has come into our world. He stooped to conquer (18:35b). His enemies were very strong, but not too strong for Him. When He died on Calvary’s tree, He carried the sins of His Father’s chosen people. You and I, if we are truly Christians, were enemies against Christ.
In His victory at Calvary, which we know was a victory because His Father raised Him from the dead, that’s Easter, Jesus has ascended back into heaven, and He and the Father have sent out God the Holy Spirit.
And we could circle back again and read 18:16-28 and take great delight that God saves us. His wrath is turned away. He then equips us for battle during these few decades we spend on planet earth. And after this life He will take us to glory.
The text listed on your outline is also for you to read this week. 1 Peter 4:12-15 & 5:6-11 give us a very clear picture of what we should expect to experience as followers of Jesus Christ while we live out these few grains-of-sand decades on earth. Read them, and believe.
We finish this message now with one simple, yet profound, statement:
Psalm 18 Is Our Psalm if... 1 Peter 5:9 “...standing firm in THE (the fill-in word) faith.”
Notice that it is not stated, “...standing firm in a faith” or “...standing firm in some faith.” No. It is standing firm in the faith. The faith in the God who has made himself very well-known on the pages of the Bible. The faith, willing to shape my life and death according to who Jesus is.
Psalm 18 is your psalm then. In fact the whole of Scripture is your light, your support, your instructor, your joy.
Now go take on the rest of your life!!!
(The following outline can be copied and then printed for worshippers to use during the message)
Psalms to live and die by
Today’s message: “The God the Bible reveals!” Psalm 18
Introduction: 18:1-3 David’s Profession of _________
1. 18:4-15 God is _________________
2. 18:16-28 God ________ His people
16-24 very personal
25-28 all His people
3. 18:29-36 God _________ us for ___________
4. 18:37-45 God gives His people ___________
Summary 18:46-48 Who God is
18:49-50 How I will live wherever I go and how my descendants will live
Some Additional Thoughts From This Psalm
1. Combining 18:7 & 18:41
2. Combining 18:19 and 18:20,25-27
God D_________ in His people and
God never D_________ His people
3. Combining 18:32-34 and Ephesians 6:10-18
God’s people are in a ______________
With 18:17 Our enemies are _______________________
“If the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive.” (Ps. 124:4)
4. Are we really all that victorious? Psalm 18:45; 1 Peter 4:12-15, 5:6-11
Psalm 18 Is Our Psalm if....1 Peter 5:9 “...standing firm in ______ faith.”