Getting To Know You – Psalm 139 – Brian Nixon

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque. We pursue the God
who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another,
through worship, by the Word, to the world. Good evening. I am not Pastor Skip Heitzig. I know– I know. I play him on TV, though,
so– just kidding. Pastor Skip and Lenya are
away for a short hiatus. They want to send their love and
let each and every one of you know that you are
missed already. They miss you guys already. But tonight, you’re
stuck with me. My name is– [APPLAUSE] Oh. Wow, I drop glasses,
I get a cheer. That’s pretty good. You guys are all right. I’m Brian Nixon, and I’m one
of the staff pastors here. And as– [APPLAUSE] And I have the privilege of
teaching the Bible tonight. And really, that’s
why we’re here, folks. We’re here to worship
the Lord and hear from Him through His Word. So we’re going to study tonight. So I hope you have
your thinking cap on. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we do thank
you for this opportunity to gather here tonight
as your people. We ask that you
would be glorified in and through Your Word. We are a people gathered who
take seriously your Word. And we ask that You would
just now open it up to us, and that you would
speak to our hearts. And we pray this
in Christ’s name. Amen. If you’re over 40,
and looking out here, there are some of
us who are, you remember a TV show game
called The Newlywed Game. Yep. It was the second-longest
running game show on ABC. And the host, Bob Eubanks,
had newlywed couples on, and he wanted to ask
questions to determine how well they knew each other. And what he found
is that some couples knew each other not very well. And other couples knew
each other too well. It turned out to be
a pretty funny show. Well, tonight we’re going
to play a mental version of this game show. So I want you to
think of your spouse. If you’re not married,
a relative or friend or a significant other. I’m going to ask a
question, and I want you to [INAUDIBLE]
answer in your mind. Don’t shout it– Test. Don’t shoot it out. Can you hear me now? Ah, maybe I should
stand over here. Don’t shout it out, just
keep it to yourself. So, you ready? Here we go. What is your significant
other’s favorite song? It’s going to get
more in detail here. Just hold on. What is your significant
other’s favorite meal? What is your significant
other’s ring size– ring? Ready? What color, or
tie, or dress would your significant other prefer? Hm? Here we go. What is your significant
other’s blood type? Yeah, you, too. What size hat would you
buy your significant other? If your significant other
could do anything for one day, what would it be? Two more. What is your significant
other’s average blood pressure? And finally, what is
your significant other’s favorite flower or tree? Of course, I could go on and on. But how’d you do? 100%! Yeah, 100%, some over here. 50%, some over here. We’re doing OK. Some of us are going, I’m OK. Others are going, not so well. But, you know, as
funny and as fund this can be in trying to
learn about other individuals, I have some sad news to convey
that isn’t really so funny. When it comes to our true
love, the Lord, the one who created us, many people
know very little. We may know a lot about
other human beings, but when it comes to the
Lord, we know very little. How do I know this? The answer is simple–
biblical illiteracy– biblical illiteracy. You see, God’s
self-disclosure of His nature is found in His revealed
word, the Bible. And when the bride of Christ–
that’s you and I, Christians– don’t know the Bible
or biblical theology, we lack a proper
understanding of God. Think of it this way. Our understanding of
the truths in the Bible is a measuring rod to our
understanding of the God who inspired the Bible. Were our knowledge of the
Bible is insufficient, our understanding of
God will be deficient. The Bible, folks, is
God’s revealed Word. This is where we find
out who He is His nature. And when we don’t seek
to comprehend the Bible, we will not apprehend God. To demonstrate my point, here’s
some biblical illiteracy facts. Listen to these. According to the Barna
Group, 60% of Americans can’t name five of
the Ten Commandments. Only 2 of 10 people
participating in a Gallup survey correctly identified
who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Folks, that’s 80% that
didn’t know that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. And some of you may be
saying, Brian, Brian, that’s people in the world. Of course they’re not
going to know their Bible. What would you expect? Not too fast, because
listen to this next one. The Pew Research Center
said that 23% of Christians didn’t read a book of
the Bible last year. And even more, Lifeway
Research found that only 45% of those who attend
church regularly read the Bible more
than once a week. So it’s not just those out
there, it’s those in here as well that are not grasping
and getting to scripture. Here’s how George Gallup
summarized the problem. “Americans revere
the Bible,” he says, “but by and large,
they don’t read it. And because they
don’t read it, they have become a nation of
biblical illiterates.” And so, folks, I contend
that because Christians don’t know their
Bible, they don’t have a full-orbed understanding
of the God of the Bible. To put it in the context
of the Newlywed Game, we don’t know our
bride very well. So what’s the solution? The answer is simple. We need to start reading,
studying, meditating on scripture, allowing
God’s truth to tether us to the God of truth. We need to learn from the Lord
so we can lean on scripture as he leads us through life. We need to be
people of the book. So tonight, we’re going to jump
start this process and look at some characteristics of
God, some of His nature found in scripture. And to do this, I invite
you to turn to Psalm 139. If you’re new here, the Psalms
are kind of right smack dab in the middle of the Bible. Psalm 139, the Psalm of David. David wrote this. And tonight, I’m going
to divide Psalm 139 into two major sections. The first section deals
with three characteristics of God’s person. David is looking out to God. And in the second
section, we’re going to find David
looking into himself. And we’re going to
apply this to how believers should
conduct themselves in response to God’s power. So characteristics and how
we’re to conduct ourselves in response to who God is. The BBC News states that the sum
total of all human knowledge– and this includes
written, photographic, speeches, everything,
is roughly 250 exabytes. Most of you are going what–
well what’s an exabyte? Hard to put your head around. To put this practically, that’s
about 1.2 billion hard drives. So if we had 1.2 billion hard
drives in this sanctuary, all the world’s knowledge
could fit on those hard drives. Sounds like a lot of
information, correct? I have news for you. To God, this is nothing–
absolutely nothing. Why? Because God is omniscient. He knows everything,
past, present, and future. There is no storage
system capable of holding His knowledge. It is infant in scope. Now, listen here. God not only knows the actual,
what truly will happen, but he knows the possible,
what could happen. And this is important. I don’t– right there,
it doesn’t like me. Why this is important
is because it’s showing that God is all-knowing. So think if you’re in
a fork in the road, and there’s a left way
and there’s a right way. And let’s say I come to
this fork in the road and I determine to go left. That is actual knowledge. I actually go there. God knows that. He knows that I’m
going to do that. He knows everything
that’s before, behind in my present condition. God not only knows the
actual, he knows the possible. He knows that if I were
to take the right road– He knows that as well. His knowledge is
infinite in nature. And so here, in Psalm 139,
David recognizes that. And under the inspiration
of the Holy Spirit, he gives us a glimpse into
God’s all-knowing nature. So let’s read the first
six verses together. It says, “Lord, you have
searched me and known me. You know my sitting
down and my rising up. You understand my
thought afar off. You comprehend my path
and my lying down. You are acquainted
with all my ways, for there is not a word
on my tongue, but behold, oh Lord, you know
it all together. You have hedged me
behind and before. You laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is
too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain it.” I want you to notice
several key words there. That word search, it means
to examine intimately. That word know,
in Hebrew’s Yada, it means to know by observation
to care for and to instruct. That word there, understand,
is [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH], and it means to attend, or
consider, or to discern. The word comprehend is to
diffuse with knowledge, to have a complete understanding. And acquainted is
to be familiar with. My point is this. God knows David very well. And if God knows David very
well, God knows you very well. All these words I
just highlighted describe God’s perfect
knowledge of people in action. David says God knows
him in verse 1. God knows David’s mind and
thoughts in verse 2 and 3. God knows David’s
actions in verse 3 and 4. God is in complete
knowledge, not just of David, but of all of us. God has infinite,
complete, 100% knowledge. And folks, I don’t
know about you, but when I think about
God’s omniscience, His all-knowing nature, this
could either comfort me, or it could concern me,
depending on my walk. It could comfort me in that,
if I’m going through trials and tribulations, God knows it. He knows that you’re
going through that. He knows your need when you’re
not able to pay the mortgage. He knows your need when
your child is hungry. He knows your need if
you have health problems. He knows it. So it’s comforting to
know that God knows. But it’s also concerning. For those whose walk is
not where it should be, God knows that as well. So God’s knowledge is
like a two-edged sword. It could comfort, or
it could cause concern. And without knowledge,
we need to be people who, like David, just
say, your knowledge is so high. It’s so mighty. The only thing I can
do is praise you, Lord, and marvel at what he knows. So the first characteristic
is God’s omniscience. According to the best
scientific calculations, the most prominent
element in the universe is hydrogen. Any
scientists out there? Good. No one can check me on this. Some scientists
have tried to give a numerical guess for hydrogen’s
presence in the universe. And guess what
they’ve come up with? 10 to the 80 power– that’s
10 with 80 zeros behind it. So they say that
this, 10 to 80 power is the most present
element in the universe. But what’s interesting
about hydrogen, if you were to take all the
atoms found in the universe, and compressed them, the
volume of all hydrogen atoms would just be as large
as a star– Beetlejuice. My point is this. Even the most commonly-present
element in our universe, which is hydrogen, is limited. But according to
scripture, God is not. He is omnipresent. He is everywhere,
unlimited in His nature. Omnipresence is a
characteristic of God that flows from His nature. Since God is
infinite in Himself, there was nowhere
which he can’t be. God is everywhere, present. The literal definition of
omni, omni means all, or every. Present is present. So God is all-present. But there’s a few things we need
to clarify when we’re talking about God’s omnipresence. That doesn’t mean that
God is His creation. Very important that
you guys get this, because so much in
today’s world is trying to tell you that God is
this tree, or God is the bird, or God is this. That is not biblical
Christianity. That’s what we call pantheism. Biblical Christianity
says that God is present, but He is not the tree,
He is not the bird. So we need to get that
distinguishing fact out. Nor is God one part
here and one part there. It’s not like God
saying, hey, listen, I’m going to be
in Mars this week, so it’s going to take me a
while to get back to Earth, so give me some time. That’s not the case at all. God, in theological terms–
now, listen to this, because it almost sounds like a
contradiction– God is simple. God is unified. He’s Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit. He’s a unified whole. God can’t be divided. Part of God can’t be in some
other Milky Way over there, and then, in our Milky Way here. He’s not divided. He’s whole. He’s one. But he’s present
all over the place. This is mind boggling,
ladies and gentlemen. We can’t fully comprehend it. We could apprehend it because
the scripture talks about it. And in verse 7 through
12 of Psalm 139, David shows us this
important text, this truth. Let’s read it together. “Where can I go
from Your Spirit, or where can I flee
from Your presence? If I ascended into
heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Hell, or
Sheol, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of
the morning and dwell in the uttermost
parts of the sea, even there Your
hand shall lead me. And Your right hand
shall hold me.” “If I say, surely the
darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall
be light about me. Indeed, the darkness
shall not hide from You. But the night shines as the day. The darkness and the light
are both alike to You.” I want you to notice three
aspects that David addresses in this section of scripture. And all of them relate
to God’s on omnipresence. The first is God is present
in personal interactions. David says in verse 7,
where can I go from you? Where can I flee
from your presence? We can’t. It’s a rhetorical question. There’s no where David could go. So God is with us in
personal interactions. He’s with us in our
humanity, so to say. But that’s not the only
place God is with us. Secondly, God is in
the spiritual realm. We learn this in verse 8. David says, “If I ascend
into Heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Hell,
behold, you are there. By the way, that word
for Hell is Sheol, and it means the
place of the dead. So David is communicating
that in the spiritual realm, God is there. God is in the personal
realm, with humans, but God is in the
spiritual realm as well. And then, the third place David
highlights is found in verses 9 through the end. And it’s the geographical,
or the physical realm. It says, “If I take the
wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost
parts of the sea, even there, Your
hand shall lead me. And Your right
hand shall hold me. If I say surely the
darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall
be light about me. Indeed, the darkness
shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day. The darkness and light
are both alike to You.” So physically, God is there. He’s there in the day and
in the morning, night. He’s there at the sea. God is everywhere
in the universe. So He’s with us personally,
He’s with us spiritually, He’s with us physically
or geographically. God is everywhere. One quick word on Hell,
because I get this question a lot from
various people throughout. A lot of people say,
well what is Hell? If God is everywhere,
is God in Hell? Is God in Hell? Well, theoretically,
God can be in Hell. But most theologians
would categorize or define Hell as the place God
chooses or elects not to be. That’s what makes it Hell. Hell is the lack of
the presence of God. Think about that. God’s presence is with us now. We see His goodness
in love for one another, love for our
children, love for people. We see God’s goodness in His
creation in the physical world. We anticipate that
spiritual union with God. But Hell, God has
elected not to be there. It’s a scary thought. And for people going
to Hell, just think about that for a moment. God, in all His
attributes, everything that is good, true, and
pure about this universe will not be there. But interestingly enough, David
points out that God’s in Hell. But really, the
translation is Sheol, and it’s the place of the
abode, the place of death. And David is using this metaphor
to say that God is in Heaven, He’s in life, and He’s in death. God is everywhere. But Hell, it appears,
will be the one place God will elect not to be. So the point is this. There is nowhere where
God is not excluding Hell. God is at every point in space,
but he’s not limited to space. God is not His creation. God is at every
point in the universe but is not limited
by the universe. And again, depending on your
walk, this can be comforting, or it could be concerning. God is present with you in
those trials and tribulations. God is present in hard times. But God is also present
when you’re doing things you shouldn’t be doing. It’s not like you’re
looking around. I don’t see God. I’m just going to continue
to do what I’m going to do. No. Not only does God have
pure knowledge of it, he’s actually there. Think about that. God is there in those times. So the second characteristic
is God’s omnipresence. Now, listen to this. The average human adult
has 206 bones, 640 muscles, 100 billion neurons
in the brain, 30 trillion cells, and
7 octillion atoms– yep, that’s 7 billion,
billion, billion, atoms. The human body is the
most complex creation in the known universe. It’s absolutely magnificent. But when you add all the other
known aspects of the universe– gravity, and space, and
time, and trees, and birds, and everything else,
and you put it together, the universe is mind boggling. It’s a spectacle beyond awe. It’s something we’re still
trying to figure out. Scientists spend
their life trying to figure out God’s handiwork. But guess what? The Bible says that
God created it all. And not only that, He brought
it into existence by His what? Very word. Now, that’s power, folks. And we call this power
God’s omnipotence. God’s omnipotence is that
it is unlimited power. God is all-powerful. And for some reason,
I keep wanting to say that if there’s one area
tonight that I want you to pay close attention to, it’s this. Because this is the one
area of God’s attributes, of His nature, of His
character, that you will get challenged on, over
and over again. And I’m going to give you some
examples here in a minute. So pay close attention to this
attribute, this characteristic of God, of His omnipotence, His
all-power, His unlimited power. By the way, God’s
omnipotence means that God can do whatever He wants to do. Nothing is impossible with God. God’s power is unlimited
by anything else. God needs no permission
from someone. He doesn’t need to go, you
know, I need to do this. No, God could just do
it, no force acting outside of His nature. He doesn’t need gravity. He doesn’t need any
of these other things. God is all-powerful. That’s really what it means. And here, in Psalm 139, David
reflects on that as well. So verses 13 through 16,
let’s read it together. “David says, ‘You
formed my inward parts. You covered me in
my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am
fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and
that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from
You when I was made in secret and skilfully wrought in the
lowest parts of the Earth. Your eyes saw my substance,
being yet unformed. And in Your book,
they were written, the days fashioned
for me, when, as yet, there was none of them.” Again, notice some key words. That word formed, it
means to erect or create. That word covered
means to entwine. Works are actions,
activities, the act of making. Frame is this idea
of someone creating with power and strength. The word made, there,
is [NON-ENGLISH], and it the means to
make and fashion. Rot is a word used to
embroider, this idea that God is weaving
the human person. Fashioned is like a
potter molding clay. The point is in all of this is
that God is the great Creator. He is the Great Architect. He’s the Great Artist. He created, not only the
most complex known thing in the universe– you
and me, the human body, the human brain– but He
created everything else. His power is unlimited. So our response
should be like David. Marvelous are your works. But it’s here, folks, like
just warned you, that you’re going to be challenged. You’re going to be challenged. I was challenged by this
just this last week. So there’s two things
you need to know in regard to God’s omnipotence. First– pay close attention
to this– God’s “omnipotence does not mean that God must
do all things that He can.” Let me repeat that again, ’cause
you could repeat this when someone asks you this question. “Omnipotence does
not mean that God must do all things that He can. It simply means that He
has the power to do so.” So here’s where the
rubber meets the road. Can God stop bad
things from happening? Sure He can– He can. But for some reason,
He’s restricted His power in certain areas. And that, folks, is
a tough question– why is this happening to me? Why did this happen
to so-and-so? I was at Ashlynn
Mike’s vigil last week. Ashlynn, if you recall,
was the little girl up in Northern New Mexico
who was abducted, along with her brother. She was raped. And then, the gentleman
took the carjack and bashed her head
in– killing her, murdered her, 11 years
old, beautiful little girl. So I’m sitting at this vigil
with hundreds of other people at the Indian Pueblo
Cultural Center. And I’m looking around,
and there’s tears. And I heard it several times. Why did this happen to Ashlen? Why not me? I even heard little
conversations, as I walked around, of
people saying, I don’t know. I’m having trouble believing
in a god that would allow this. So, folks, it’s
important to understand this biblical principle. Yes, God is all power,
but God doesn’t always do what He can do. So what do we tell people
in situations like this? What do we tell people
who have lost children? I have. I’ve buried a kid. I watched a child
go in the ground. Why? The answer is this, folks. I don’t know. But let me say something
about the beauty of us being people of the book. Because when we turn to
the book, we find answers. We may not know
the ultimate reason why God has restricted
His power in some areas. But what we know is this. God is good. We lean on what we know in
lieu of what we don’t know. And what we do know
is that God is good. And God is working all
things together for good. Romans 8:28 says that. God is working all
things together for good. This word, work together, is
an interesting word in Greek. It’s [NON-ENGLISH]. And it’s a confluence. Think of it as a confluence
of things coming together. To give you a mental picture,
think of our Sandia Mountains. And not that we have a
lot of rivers on them, but think of rivers,
or tributaries, or small little bodies
of water that are all coming down the mountain. And then, they collect in
a larger body of water, let’s say a pond. And then that pond goes down
into a larger body of water, which is a lake,
and then that lake makes it way through rivers
and such to the ocean. That’s the word Paul
is using in Romans 8. God is [NON-ENGLISH]. He’s working all
these things together. These little things, throughout
life, throughout your life, throughout my life, throughout
history, each one of these, He’s bringing them together for
good, for the larger purpose. So though God may restrict
His power at times, He may not act upon His,
we know that God is good and that He has a
purpose for doing so. So the first thing we need to
know about God’s omnipotence is it does not mean that God
must do all things He can do, it simply means He has
the power to do them. Secondly– now,
listen to this one– “God is free to limit
the use of His power but is not free to limit
the extent of His power.” What this means is that
God knows all things and could act in a powerful way
if He so desired but does not have to do so. God can restrict His
power when needed. We’re in a political
season, right? And I know some of us
are probably going, ooh. Who do I vote for? Lord, it’s not turning out how
I thought it would turn out. And then you kind of
look up and you go, God, are you involved
in any of this? I mean, are you aware
of what’s going on? I mean, should I write you a
letter or send you an email? I mean, Lord, come
on, help us out here! No, God knows what’s going on. God’s not getting
communications every day from Michael the archangel. Lord, did you know this? No, God has absolute,
complete knowledge. He’s omniscient. He knows everything, the
actual and the possible. So again, we’re back
to that, well, so, God, on the bigger
scope– personally, we understand that you’re
working together for good. But collectively big? I mean, why are You restricting
Your power in that way as well? Well, again, back
to Romans 8:28. We don’t understand how God is
weaving the fabric of history into this beautiful tapestry. We know the ending, because we
have the Book of Revelation. But all of the details, all
the little strands of yarn, all the details it takes to
create that beautiful tapestry, or that beautiful
rug, we don’t know. But God knows. He sees the picture. Another mental image
that might help you is think of a
wonderful symphony. You know, symphonies never
just start with a big bang and two seconds
later they’re over. No, symphony music, it
starts, it works its way up. It may start with, what,
a low bass over here, and you start hearing a bass. And then over here, you
start hearing a flute. And then out there
somewhere you hear a cello. And then, a little bit at a
time, all these instruments are playing together. They’re coming together. And then they culminate
in this magnificent, this majestic melody
that moves you. And you go, that is
such a beautiful song. That’s how it is with God. Bass may be doing their
own thing over here. The flutes may be
singing over there. Cellos and the bassoon and the
oboes, and throughout history, all of these instruments have
been playing, and shouting out, and proclaiming. But God is taking all
of these instruments and He’s making a
symphony from it. God is the Great Composer. And because He’s good,
we can trust Him. But why do we know He’s good? It comes from His word. It’s imperative,
ladies and gentlemen, that we learn from God’s Word
how God has revealed Himself. Because I’ll tell you what,
the problem of evil and why God restricts His power
is a tough one. It’s a tough one that we
get asked day in, day out. It’s the number one problem
facing biblical theologians. But we could turn
to scripture, and we could give reasonable answers
that God has restricted His power, but He’s good,
and He’s working all things together for good. So those are three
characteristics– God’s omnipotence, God’s
omniscience, and God’s what? Omnipresence. Omnipresence, good. And by the way,
these are just three of many of God’s
characteristics, or His attributes. So we’ve looked
at the character– the characteristics of God. Now, let’s take it inward. Let’s look at our
conduct, how we are to respond to God in
light of God’s character. We’re moving out from God,
and we’re moving in to us. And we’re briefly going to
hit on four areas– praise, justice, weakness, and guidance. The first one is that we’re
called to practice praise. And that’s found
in verse 17 and 18. Let’s read it together. “How precious are Your
thoughts to me, O, God? How great is the sum of them? If I should count them,
they would be more in number than the sand. When I am awake, I
am still with You.” I love that word precious. It’s [NON-ENGLISH] in
Hebrew, and it means valuable or prized. When’s the last time
you stopped and said, Lord, I just prize you? You’re valuable. I just want to praise
you, Lord, for who you are, that
you’re all-knowing, that you’re all-powerful, that
You’re present, You’re here, You know my condition. When’s the last time you’ve
stopped and said, God, I praise You. You’re prized. But then, notice
what David says. When I awake, I
am still with You. When’s the last time you sought
God’s presence– I mean truly sought God’s presence
in your life? We take it for
granted, don’t we? Sure, we know God’s here. But when is the last time you
said, God, I know You’re here, and I just want to sit at
Your feet and hear from You? There’s a classic book called
The Practice of the Presence I God. And it sounds mighty
and lofty, and you think, boy, some
great theologian must have wrote that
book, The Practice of the Presence of God. No. A great theologian– well,
he could be considered great to a certain extent. But a great theologian
didn’t write that. A dishwasher wrote that book. See, Brother Lawrence
worked in the monastery. And his job was not to
pray with the monks, and to study scripture
with the theologians, and learn all these
high and lofty things. His job was to wash the dishes. And he wrote about finding
God in the details of washing dishes. And he was consumed
with God’s presence in even the smallest of things. And the only reason
why we know about this is because he wrote
letters to a friend describing how much he enjoyed
God’s presence while he washed the dishes. And the book is
called The Practice of the Presence of God, and
it’s a spiritual classic. And the reminder is, even in
the smallest things in our life, God is there. We need to recognize it. We need to prize that and say,
how precious is that, Lord? We need to practice praise. But the second thing we
need to do is seek justice. And you’re going have to
follow me here on this one because some, when
we read this, are going to say, yeah, all right. That’s good. We get to hurt people. I like this one. Not so fast, folks. Let’s read verses 19 through 22. It says, “David
writes, ‘Oh, that you would slay the wicked, oh God. Depart from me, therefore,
you bloodthirsty men, for they speak
against You wickedly. Your enemies take
Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, oh
Lord, who hates you? And do I not loathe those
who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred. I count them my enemies.” Some of us are going,
yeah, I liked that one. I liked that one a lot. But folks, I need to
remind you of something. In the new covenant,
as Jesus’ followers, people are not our enemy. Jesus actually said
love your enemy. So how do we take
something like this and put it in the context
of the New Testament? Well, here’s how you do it. You apply it to
sin and to Satan. Your enemy, ladies
and gentlemen, they are not people–
not the Muslims living next door, or the
Jehovah Witness, or the atheist. Those aren’t your enemies. Your enemy is sin,
and its source, Satan. So how do we combat sin
and Satan in this world? We bring in God’s justice. We speak God’s truth
into situations in life. We speak truth into terror. We live faithfully in
the midst of falsehood. To put it in layman’s
term, we need to fight for what is right. And that takes different forms. For some of you, it may
be helping the homeless. One of our pastors here
recently talked to me. And I so respect him for it. He said, you know, Brian,
God’s really just calling me. I need to get involved
in the political sphere. And I said, that’s awesome. Because that’s speaking justice,
God’s truth, into this world. Some of you may go down to Joy
Junction and help the homeless. Praise the Lord. Some of you may go street
witnessing in Knob Hill. Praise the Lord. The point is not what
you do, it’s that you do. And when you do, you are
bringing God’s justice into a situation. That is how you combat sin
and Satan in this world. People aren’t your enemy. Satan is your enemy. And the only way you’re
going to combat Satan is with the truth of God. That’s the truth. That is the truth. So we’re to practice praise. We’re to seek justice. Thirdly, we’re to
understand our weakness. And we find this in
verse 23 through 24:8. Let’s read it together. David writes, “Search me,
O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my
anxieties and see if there is any wicked in me.” David is basically saying, you
know what, God, you know me. You’re omnipresent,
you’re omnipowerful, you’re omniscient. You know everything. You know me. You know that I am a what? A sinner. Try me. And inherent in this is the
understanding of knowledge that we’re not God. We are foible people. We’re frail. We’re but dust, the Bible says. And it causes us to
recognize our condition, but also to recognize daily
that we need God’s forgiveness. John reminds us that he who
says he is without sin is what? A liar. You’re a liar if you
say you’re without sin. It’s better just to
say, I’m a sinner, and I need a savior who’s
going to cleanse me, day in and day out. Jesus told us to pray this in
the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. “Forgive us our debts as
we forgive our debtors.” So we need to
understand our weakness. And we need to understand
that God, who is good, will forgive us. Psalm 103:8 reminds us, the Lord
is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger,
abounding in love. So we need to
understand our weakness. The fourth and final thing we
can glean about our conduct, of how we’re to respond to
this awesome and mighty God, is found in verse
24, the second half. David writes, “And lead me
in the way everlasting.” That word lead is
[NON-ENGLISH] in Hebrew. It means to guide and govern. Do you know what the
word govern means? It means to be conformed
to the principles and order of something– in
this case, God– to be conformed
to the principles as set out in scripture. To be conformed and ordered by
what is written in this book, to have God lead you is to
have the Holy Spirit speaking through this book so that you
can be a witness to this world, allowing God to lead you. Rely on God’s guidance. So the four things, our
conduct, our responses to practice praise,
seek justice, understand our weakness,
and rely on God’s guidance. In the famous musical,
The King and I, there’s a character named Anna. She was a British schoolteacher. She moved to Siam to help
the King educate his family. But things don’t
go as she plans. Problems start to arise. She butts heads with the king. And then, in a key moment of
the song– I mean, in the play, she sings a song– and
you guys know the song, Getting to Know You. (SINGING) Getting to know you,
getting to– you know the song. Some of the lyrics read, in
part, “Getting to know you, getting to know all about
you, getting to know you, getting to feel free and
easy when I am with you, getting to know what to say.” Ladies and gentlemen,
like Anna, we need to get to know, not
each, as important as that is, but get to know
the true King– not the King of Siam but the King
of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It’s important– sure,
you can clap for that one. Our life should be
about getting to know the One who created
us, cares for us, and keeps us in His love. Let your song be a
love song to the Lord, the King of the universe. And maybe you’re here
tonight and you don’t know the King of the universe. Well, then your song would
be one of an invitation. You were just simply, in the
quietness of your heart, say, Lord, you are powerful. You’re mighty. I am a sinner. I need you. And then you would receive
Jesus into your life. You would confess and
invite Him to inhabit, to take up residence
in your life. And in a nanosecond,
He will do so. And you will be saved. But maybe you’re a
Christian here today in one of those camps. You need to be comforted,
or you need to be concerned. For those of you
who are concerned with God’s all-knowing nature,
that He’s present with you in things you shouldn’t be
doing, that He knows it, and that He’s powerful, what
your song should be is one of forgiveness, of repentance. Lord, forgive me. I need to get back in
a right walk with you. I need to practice praise. I need to seek justice. I need to understand
my condition. I need to rely and
let You lead me by the power of the Holy Spirit. And then, there’s
some of you tonight who are comforted by these. Your walk is strong. You’re seeking the Lord. You’re doing these things
that we highlighted. Well, my challenge
for you, then, is to get to know God even more. Don’t stop studying His Word. Don’t stop delving into
the depths of His nature. Make it a point to study deeper,
find commentaries, seek out pastors, ask them what books
that you should be reading. Learn all you can about God. A few years back, I
wrote a little booklet. Pastor Chuck Smith and I wrote
it together, it was called, Line Upon Line. And the stuff I wrote,
who cares about. But what’s great
about this booklet is the resources
given at the end. We lay out all these
resources on different books of the Bible, theological
works, counseling works. Get to know that God
that we’re reading about. And let others help
you through resources. So those who find
comfort in this, mine is a challenge to you to
dig deeper, to learn more, to go further with the Lord. I don’t know about you, but
I like to watch those nature programs on television. And for some sick
reason, I’m fascinated by the killing scenes. [LAUGHTER] It’s true. I think we all. You know, when the lion starts
chasing after the antelope, and you’re going, oh, is the
antelope going to get away, or what’s going to happen here? And then, the lion catches the
antelope, and he devours it. And he feasts on it. And then other lions in
the pride come together, and they’re all feasting. And then you see that
moment when the lion’s just kind of there, and he growls. Rawr. It’s not a growl of safety,
of leaving him alone. It’s a growl of satisfaction. He has so devoured that. He’s feasted on it. He’s shared it with his family. That’s a growl of satisfaction. Ladies and gentlemen, I
think we’re to be like lions. We’re to be like people
that so feast on scripture that we’re so full,
that we’re so satisfied, the only thing we
could do is growl. Make a noise. And if you don’t believe
me, Isaiah says it as such. Listen to this, and
I close with this. This is Isaiah in Chapter 31. He says, “Woe to those who
go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses.” Isaiah’s saying, you don’t
have to rely on the Egyptians, the wisdom of this world. You don’t have to
rely on materialism. You don’t have to rely on
the power, or the knowledge that people think they
have in this world. Isaiah continues on. “The Egyptians who trust
in chariots, the power and the political might
because they are many, and in the horsemen,
the military might because they are
very strong but who do not look to the Holy One.” Isaiah says, “Nor do
they seek the Lord.” And then, he brings
it down a notch. “Yet, he is wise and
will bring disaster and will not call
back his words.” The Lord will have
no competition. The Lord is the only
one who is omniscient. The Lord is the only one who is
all-powerful and all-knowing. And then, in verse 4, Isaiah
says just what I told you. “For thus saith the Lord has
spoken to me, as a lion roars and the young lion
over his prey, when a multitude of shepherds
is summoned against him, he will not be
afraid of their voice nor disturbed by their noise.” The young lion– the
lion– over his prey, who knows the strength
manifest in himself. Ladies and gentlemen, we
know the strength of our God. We know that He’s all-knowing. We know that He’s good. We know that He’s all-powerful. We just need to feast upon
His Word, upon His presence, singing His praise, seeking His
justice, knowing our condition, and letting Him lead us. When we do so, we will
sit, we’ll be full, we will be satisfied, and
we will give that growl. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we thank
you so much for Your Word. We thank you for its
beauty, for its power. We thank you, Lord,
that we are formed by the Holy Spirit in
accordance with this text of holy scripture. Lord, we’re so glad
that You have not put us in charge of forming
our own spiritual lives, but that in accordance
with Your Word, implanted and taught to
us by the Holy Spirit, you will lead us. So Lord, let us not be Bible
illiterate statistics like we read about, but let us be
Bible literate success stories. Let us be people
who read, study, and know that you are
growing us in Your grace and Your knowledge. And we pray this
in Christ’s name. Amen. [MUSIC PLAYING] What binds us
together is devotion to worshipping our Heavenly
Father, dedication to studying His Word, and determination
to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ. For more teachings from Calvary
Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit

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