Monday, January 14, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 36

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Time for Worship”

I’ve been asked, “Have you ever preached the same sermon more than once?”

Someone who knows I have usually asks it.


Though I try not to be as rude as some people tweet, I’ve often thought, “Yeah, I’ve preached the same sermon lots of times because people like you keep proving you never got it the first or second or…time; and I’m gonna keep doing it until ya’ll get it.”

When I taught homiletics, I’d tell seminarians and doctoral candidates what I was told when I was in their place: “If it’s worth preaching once, it’s worth preaching twice; and If it’s not worth preaching twice, it’s not worth preaching once.”

I’m reminded of Harold’s response to a woman who claimed he preached a sermon just for her if you know what that means: “Well, that’s pretty arrogant of you to think that I’d preach a sermon just for you; but if the shoe fits…”

So many of David’s psalms are like that.

They seem to repeat the same timely themes over and over and over again to prepare us for an intimacy with our Father that will last forever and provides strong calm sanity, safety, and serenity in the meantime.

Simply, the shoe fits all of us because we need to keep hearing His gospel and how to show gratitude for it/Him over and over and over again until we get it.

Psalm 36 repeats three theological truths or understandings of God and our existential and eternal relationship with Him: (1) Human depravity; (2) God’s irrepressible love; and (3) the ultimately blessed destiny of the faithful.

Or as my buddy Cliff likes to exclaim, “We sin.  God saves.  What a great deal!”

Unless you’ve missed the course on original sin, you know it’s in us or quite natural for us to rebel against God’s best intentions for our lives; or as Paul wrote, “I want to be good but I’m so often bad even when I want to be good; which is why I need a Savior.”

That human depravity is echoed by David in Psalm 36: “There is no dread of God in their eyes.  They are constantly plotting evil.  They play with fire and don’t care who gets burned.”

Yes, praise Father God for Savior Jesus!

Pero don’t run too quickly away from the obvious need for salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.

Obviously, we’re especially “good” - naturally inclined – at insulting God’s holiness and injuring God’s people with the footnote that injuring God’s people is the same as insulting and injuring Him; remembering, as Jesus said, “Whatever you’re doing to others, you’re doing to Me.”

Surely, there are the really obvious insults and injuries listed in the big ten of Exodus 20 echoed throughout Holy Scripture.

There are also the less obvious insults and injuries to Him as we insult and injure His family.

Francis Chan sums it up so sadly in a few words about his church applicable to most churches echoed throughout Letters to the Church: “When unbelievers came to our services, they weren’t observing anything supernatural about the way we loved one another.”  

Chan’s conclusion: “We questioned…the level of love we had for one another.”




Do we really love each other with the kind of love that Jesus had in mind punctuated by grace, mercy, forgiveness, a thirst and hunger for reconciliation, and agape?

Annnnnnnd  then there is the most obvious insult and injury to Him – the place of worship in our churches.

What about our time for worship?

How much is enough for the One who forgives past, present, and future insults and injuries to Him and His so we can live confidently, calmly, and certainly about the heavenly paradise by grace through faith in Him commencing the first nano-second after the last breath?

Well, when I first arrived on the corner of Lincoln and Main, an elder said seriously with a slick, slimy, and satanosly sick smile, “You’ll be fine as long you don’t take longer than 59 minutes and 59 seconds for worship.”

He reminded me of a little boy named Dougie who tucked at the sleeve of his mommy Lila so many years ago at the Osceola Presbyterian Church in Clark, New Jersey as we turned to the closing hymn of that day’s service and complained, “Just my luck!  Six verses!”

Until we have time for worship – however long it takes to feel His presence in our adoration and exaltation and praise and thanksgiving for His existential care and eternal life which does not have to be limited to or over an hour or more or less as long as it’s sincere, authentic, from the heart, and not with eyes glued to the cellular or wall clock or calendar – we will miss His blessings “on earth as it is in heaven.’

Until we have time for worship, we will not taste paradise in time.

It’s like someone said, “Worship is like dancing.  If you’re counting the steps, you’re not doing it.”

Despite those lamentable insults and injuries that inhibit our intimacy with Him with the corollary being we’re only hurting ourselves in the humanly depraved process, God still loves us!

Talk about amazing grace!

“Lord,” sang David, “Your faithful love reaches to heaven.  No one gets lost in Your largeness.  Not a man or mouse slips through the cracks.  Your love is exquisite.”

God’s love is heavenly.

It breaks out in time as a preface to eternity by grace through faith in Jesus.

Psalm 36 ends with that assurance: “Your faithful love is spread over those who know You.”
Yes, Cliff is right.

It’s a great deal.

We sin.
God saves.

I believe that’s worth repeating over and over and over again.

Yes, we love to tell the story; for those who know it best are hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.

We’ve been singing that gospel over and over and over again since the beginning and we’ll keep singing it over and over and over again forever.

Revelation 4: “Day and night they never stop, saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming…Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because…’”

Because He is Lord!

He is Lord and Savior!

By grace through faith in Him, we are saved though we have sinned and will never stop sinning until we breathe for the last time.

What a great deal!

That’s why we have time for worship!


Blessings and Love!

Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





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