When deciding what to give my message about today, I was drawn again to the book of Psalm. In May of 2020, my message was about Psalm 68, verse 1-10 that Don read to us. Both of the passages from Psalm that were recommended by the lectionary for the week were great ones as well. Then I found Psalm 145. So the plan was in place. As I said in May of 2020, the book of Psalm is one of my favorite books in the Bible. There are so many passages and many of them speak to my heart. Today we will touch base on the 4 scripture passages that Don and I read. Psalm 24 tells us that the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. We then are a part of the Lord’s earth, do we do our part to take care of that earth that is the Lord’s and that we are so lucky to be living on? When was the last time you picked up a piece of trash that was lying on the street or on the sidewalk where you parked your car? Something so little can make a difference overall. It goes on to say that those who have clean hands and pure hearts will receive blessings from the Lord. Do we have clean hands and pure hearts; do we love our neighbors as ourselves? We can finish up Psalm 24 by saying; “Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. “ It is easy to visualize huge, heavy wooden doors that take a strong person to lift or a strongly build pulley system, but couldn’t it also be talking about our hearts, opening them up to the Lord so He can come in.
Psalm 68 verses 1-10 was the Psalm that I talked about last year. Verse 4 which says “Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds, his name is the Lord, be exultant before him.” It reminded me then and continues to remind me of the scripture that tells the story of Jesus being lifted to heaven by the clouds. I talked about the clouds that we had seen that week, some of the white and fluffy clouds but we also had the dark, angry clouds which aren’t what one would picture Jesus riding to heaven on. The clouds in the sky have been few and far between lately. It would be nice to see the white, fluffy clouds and imagine that we can see Jesus on them. However, I can stand to see some of those dark, angry clouds right now especially if they were full of rain. As I said before isn’t God like that? He can be ever so quiet, as peaceful as the white fluffy clouds on a breezy summer day and He can be just like the angry, dark clouds that are ever so threatening. Verse 7&8 say; “O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” We need to remember that our God can be a quiet, giving God but He can also be dark, and angry especially when his people aren’t being the people He would like them to be. We need to remember that God would prefer us to be the people that He would like us to be; stewards of the earth, showing kindness and love to the people around us and around the world. Are we being the people that God would like us to be? Or do we at times bring out the dark, angry clouds?
Psalm 85, verse 8 -13
In Psalm 85, it says; “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.” So, if we turn our hearts to God, He will speak to us. Does that mean if we listen for God’s advice, it will come? I think so but I think we really need to listen. How often do we really listen? If someone is talking to you are you listening or are you sort of listening because you are thinking of something else, you have your phone in your hand, or you are just distracted? It would be the same thing, maybe even more so with God. If we want to hear what God is speaking about; we need to listen with our ears but also our hearts. We need to really be paying attention to what He is telling us. For if we just half listen will we ever really know what He has in mind for us? Then Psalm 85 talks about faithfulness. It says; “Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteous will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good and our land will yield its increase.” So, first we need to really listen and then we need to have faith and to be faithful. If we do so, our land, ourselves, will yield its increase. We will benefit from both of those things, listening and faithfulness and our lives will be even more abundant.
Then we come to Psalm 145. It is longer than the others that I have talked about. I think Psalm 145 is a good synopsis of the previous Psalms I touched base on. One of the things that we can take from this Psalm is that it says one generation shall laud your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts. It goes on to say that His faithful will bless him; they shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power to make know to all people your mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and your dominion endures throughout all generations. What is that telling us? I think it is saying that we need to do our part and talk about God, His love for all mankind, His ability to know everything there is to know about us, down to how many hairs we have on our heads. We need to be faithful, believing that God will take care of our needs, that He is only a prayer away. However God isn’t a secret that we are supposed to keep. We need to talk about God, we need to share Him with those around us, and we need to tell others about having eternal lives, that when our time on earth is done, we have a place in heaven where we will dwell for eternity. We need to live our lives as God would have us live them. God should be first in our lives. The last verse of Psalm 145 is; “My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.” We should shout the blessings of God from the rooftops!
Hopefully we have learned a little about 4 of the books of Psalm. However, there is one Psalm that we all should just about know by heart. It is the one that can comfort us through all the trials that life can throw our way, for even with God by our side, life will have trials; that is just a part of being a human. The Psalm I am talking about is Psalm 23. So I will close with that Psalm and if you like you may join me as I read it.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.