Who would want to be a parent these days? The task has always been a hard one, but in these days there are so many more complicating factors and influences. This message examines the high calling of parenthood, some helpful texts from Psalm 78, Psalm 127 and Psalm 128 and a challenge to all to pass on the faith to the next generation.
Guest speaker, Rev. Ian Brown, preached from Psalm 51. King David was slow to recognise his sin (2 Samuel 11) until confronted by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12) but some never do – and deceive themselves (1 John 1). David repents before God who is both just and merciful – sin is dealt with through Jesus (Romans 3:23-26). What is our response to God forgiving our sin?
There are three vioices in Psalm 19:1-14. The first voice is the voice of creation. Like other parts of the Bible, Psalm 19 teaches that all that we see in the created order testifies to the truth that God exists and that by all that He has made, He has spoken to all mankind about His existence. This is true for people all over the world. No-one can say they did not know that God existed. The second voice in the Psalm is the voice of God’s Word. While God’s voice through creation can be ignored or misinterpreted, He has also spoken to us through His Word, which, for the writer of the Psalm, were the books of God’s law which he treasured above everything. The third voice in the Psalm is the voice of God’s servant, who asked God to cleanse his heart from hidden sins and faults. The one who loves God over all things will want to be pure in order to serve Him and be ready to obey Him from the heart.
In Psalm 100, we have an invitation to come into God’s presence and serve him with gladness. We do this because of his good character and his care for us, his people, in so many ways. The returned exiles might not have always felt that joy in worship and we might struggle at times too. They were looking forward and we look back on God’s greatest expression of his steadfast love – sending the Good Shepherd, Jesus. We reflect on God’s Word to “Know the Lord” and be reminded of his goodness, which shapes our lives of service.
Most people get their education at school, but life also hands out many complex lessons. The man who wrote Psalm 116:1-19 found this to be true. When faced with an overwhelmingly desperate situation in which he was threatened by death, his cry to the Lord did not go unheard. In fact, God heard his cry and came to his rescue. As a response to this rescue, the Psalm writer willingly gave himself to the Lord to be his devoted servant and to testify to His saving power. God’s people know that the problem of sin is too big for anyone to handle alone. Only God can deal with sin and its consequences, and He did this by sending His Son to the cross. Salvation comes to all who call to the Lord and because He is gracious and faithful, He hears the cry of His own and saves them.
Psalm 19 begins by telling us that all around us is evidence for the reality of God. The stars and the skies daily proclaim His handiwork and his glory. These created things ‘speak’ to us of His presence and greatness, but they do not tell us of who he is or how we can find him. These truths about God are found in the rest of the Psalm. God speaks through His written word and this completes the puzzle. What the skies and stars do not tell us, His Word does! Sadly, many remain deaf and blind to the voice and the glory of God which has reached its greatest expression in the ministry and person of Jesus His Son.
Though it is right to remember those who fell in times of war, especially at the time of the ANZAC Centenary, it is even better to remember that Psalm 46 reminds us that the security of the nations depends not upon man and his machine, but upon the Lord of Hosts. Further to this, though Jesus’ words about ‘greater love has no man’, are often used to highlight the cost of freedom won by the sacrifice of many, they really refer to how we ought to understand His sacrifice on the cross for our sin. Then also, the Bible describes a war that we are all involved in and declares those who have faith in Jesus as the ones who are on the winning side.
In an age where ‘selfies’ are trending more and more popular, Psalm 67 rightly points us back to God (instead of man) as the source of all grace and blessing. The need of the hour is that we know more and more of this grace and blessing – not so that we become comfortable, but so that we may be a blessing to others, even the whole world. Given too that God is the Lord of all the nations, the Psalm points out that His praise ought to be sung by peoples from every land. In this day when less than half of the world has even heard about the Lord Jesus Christ, we must pray that God would fulfill the Psalm’s vision and send His word to the ends of the earth. (No audio this week, sorry).
As one of the Psalms of King David, Psalm 139 relates how David knew that God knew so much about him! This intimate knowledge of God is so vast that He even saw knew David in his mother’s womb. Because of this David knew that he could never leave God’s presence. In this message, Rory Weightman reminds us that in the midst of such wonderful truths, David also knew that that God is holy and must punish the wicked. The Psalm ends as we might not expect, yet gives the assurance that believers are safe with God and will never be abandoned by Him.
As one of the Psalms of King David, Psalm 51 relates how David confessed his sins to God and found that God is gracious. Rev Russ Grinter reminds us in this message that this grace transforms a sinner into a saint (a believer in Jesus Christ) through repentance and faith. This grace also enables those who are saints to continue to repent and believe – which is just what God wants from us in the New Year, a life of repentance and faith.