God’s Glory in Creation and the Law
To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
The pastor was frustrated. It seemed that no matter what he preached, the words fell on deaf ears. Wondering why this was happening, he sought the counsel of the church council president. The pastor shared his frustration and asked the president for some guidance.
The president listened carefully, then responded. She said, “I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but I would think your sermons would carry much more weight if you would refrain from ending each sermon by saying, ‘Then again, what do I know?”
I figure I have preached at least 1500 times over these years, as well as nearly 400 daily devotions have been written since March, 2020. I would hope that the words that I share convey God’s love and forgiveness and hope.
The words at the end of Psalm 19 are often used by a preacher at the beginning of a sermon – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my hear be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
My hope and prayer is that the words that I share are words that give you the hope to meet the needs of today, the strength to carry on tomorrow, and the blessed assurance of God’s love and forgiveness.
Words are such an important part of life. In an average day, we hear some 20,000 to 30,000 words. That doesn’t count the words we see on the screen, or billboard, or emails and texts, which can easily double or triple that number.
So at the end of a long week, after hearing nearly 500,000 words from others and the media, you and I gather to hear the words of Jesus Christ. His words speak to our battered ears, battered minds, and battered lives. His words speak calmly and directly, equipping and encouraging us for another week of noisy living.
Worship is sometimes passed over as unimportant for us in these times or irrelevant in what we are facing in 2022. But you and I need to hear this message again and again. That is why we gather here after a week of depressing and defeating words to hear still more words. The difference is that these words we are hearing are the words of power, words of hope, words of authority and words of a loving Savior.
They are the words of Jesus Christ. We gather here on a Sunday to hear the words of a Savior who frees us from the power of all evil that tries to overwhelm us. For I truly believe the words of Christ are as powerful today against evil as they were when he shared them some 2000 years ago. Whenever evil seeks to distort and destroy our lives, the words of Christ have power to free us.
So when evil whispers in your ear, “It’s no use, you can’t do it, give up!” we turn to the words of Scripture, and there we hear the words of St Paul thunder in our ears, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”(Phil 4:13).
When evil whispers the words, “You’re alone, there’s no one who cares for you, and no one who will stand by you”, Christ's word assures us, “I will be with you always, to the end of the age” (Mathew 28:20).
When evil whispers the words, “You’re a failure, no one can possibly love a person like you”, the word of the Lord empowers us to carry on. “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20), we are told. “The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end” (Isaiah 54:10).
When evil whispers the words, “There is no hope and no help or comfort in the face of sickness and grief, a word comes from Christ, “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and they know me.” “I will never forget you! I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15).
When evil whispers in your ear, “You’re going to die and that will be end of you" and terror strikes your heart, Jesus comes with a word, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. I go to prepare a place for you. And I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-4). “All those who live and believe in me will never die” (John 11:26).
When evil whispers in your ear, “There is no point in praying, don’t waste your time. You have better things to do”. The word of the Lord comes to us with authority, “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I will listen” (Jeremiah 29:12).
When Martin Luther would get depressed or discouraged in his work, his mantra became, “But I am baptized.”
But I belong to God. But when the game is over, the battle is done, God wins.
How about letting God have authority in your life today?
For God sent his son, Jesus the Christ the one who has authority, and the words of eternal life.
Then again, what do I know?
Let us pray: Almighty God, open my ears to hear your wonderful words of life. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.