Let’s turn to psalm one hundred and thirty-one as we begin our study tonight and we will be going through psalm one hundred and thirty-five.
We are still in what are known as the psalms of ascents, those songs that were traditionally sung by the pilgrims as they came to Jerusalem for the holy feast days to worship the Lord. Thus the worship of God, the temple of God, Jerusalem is always more or less the center of the psalms. They are focusing in on the worship of God in Jerusalem at the temple or during the feast days so that becomes the focus of these psalms. David, that king who inspired so many of the songs and wrote so many of these songs, comes into play in the singing of these songs also. Psalm one hundred and thirty-one happens to be one of those psalms of David.
The worship of God should always bring us into the consciousness of God and the overriding providence of God. Coming into the consciousness of God and the reign and the rule of God should then in turn bring me into a proper perspective as I look at the situations of life. Our problem is that we so often lose the true perspective. Losing sight of God our problems and the world problems loom so big that they become insurmountable. I become stressed and frustrated because the problems are so great and I don’t see any solutions or answers. Thus as I come to worship God it should always bring life into perspective, my problems into perspective.
Surely I have behaved and quieted myself (131:2).
So the psalm of David, one hundred and thirty-one, is really a psalm that deals with that standing there before the Lord, worshipping the Lord, becoming conscience of his greatness and of his power and how that it brings such peace to my own soul. It takes away all of the fussiness and all of the fretfulness that I might feel, the anxieties, the stresses and I get things into perspective. So in verse two David said, “I have stilled and quieted my soul”. That’s a more correct translation than in the King James. I think that some of the modern translations have translated that and it’s a more accurate translation.
I have stilled and quieted my soul. That should always be the consciousness of having been in the presence of God, worshipping God, there should be a stilling and a quieting in our souls. That beautiful peace that comes in the presence of God knowing that God is on the throne, God is in control and God is going to take care of things.
Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child (131:2).
That’s speaking of that perfect contentment, that confidence, that trust and that peace of a weaned child. No more fussiness and no more fretting. There is that growth, maturity and transition.
David though is speaking as an adult. The characteristics that lead towards this kind of blissful experience is found in verse one.
LORD, my heart is not haughty, (131:1)
The absence of pride. Though God had exalted David tremendously, made him king over Israel, as you read the story and the life of David there is a beautiful absence of pride. David never forgot his roots. He never forgot that he was just a shepherd and that God was the one that took him from the following after the sheep. God was the one that had elevated him and placed him in this exalted position of reigning his people. It never ceased to just awe David, that which God had done. Looking at where he was at what he was he realized God has done this. I’m nothing, I was just a shepherd and yet God has put me here.
When God told David of the covenant that he was going to make with David, that there would never cease to be a descendent of David sitting upon the throne; the promise that the Messiah would come through David, David was totally overwhelmed. He went in before the Lord and said, “Lord you took me from following after the sheep and you made me the ruler over your people. If this was not enough yet you have spoken of me of yet a great while to come. What can I say?” He was silent before the Lord.
I don’t of anybody who was more capable of expressing praise to God and thanksgiving than David. This guy was so articulate. Whenever I need help in praising God or in expressing my thanks to God I always turn to the psalms because David set the model. One of the most articulate men capable of expressing those things to the Lord that I like to express but I can’t think of them. So I turn to the psalms and I let David sort of model for me in his praises and in thanksgiving to God. This fellow who was so adept at praise yet when God laid out the future, told him what he was going to do David was speechless. When Savonarola said, “When worship reaches it’s ultimate words are impossible”. You just sit there in silence, in awe of the goodness and of the blessing of God.
David wasn’t haughty nor prideful. Remembering his roots he realized he was what he was because of what God had done. We need to realize that. Paul said, “What do you have but what you have received from God? If God gave it to you then why do you boast as though it was something of you?” he said, “Don’t think more highly of yourself than you are; think soberly for God has given to everyone this measure of faith”. It’s the work of God. It isn’t really the work of God because I was something or I was worth while, it’s the work of God because of his glorious grace towards me. Thus you stand and you have the right evaluation of yourself.
The person who is proud is blind. I’m certain that we often think more highly of ourselves than God does. Have you ever been disappointed in yourself? Have you ever wondered how could I have done that? That is so ridiculous, how could I have done that? I have been disappointed in myself many times but God has never been disappointed in me because God knew I was weak al the time. I was disappointed because I thought I was stronger than I really was. When I stumbled I was so disappointed but God wasn’t he knew I was frail, that I was but dust. It thought I was a rock but I’m dust and he’s dusted me a few times. I’ll tell you there is nothing like a dusting to take away the pride, “Woe is me. I’m undone. I’m a man of unclean lips; I dwell amongst the people”.
If you are filled with pride then you are also filled with this inner turmoil. It goes with pride. Striving, you’ve got to constantly be striving to prove that you are all that you think that you are, that you are as good as you think you are and you want people to think you are. There is always that pressure, that striving to prove. You can never say that you are like a contented child that has been weaned.
nor mine eyes lofty: (131:1).
I don’t have a driving ambition trying to get to the top. David didn’t struggle to get on the throne. He left that completely in God’s hands. He didn’t form an army to overthrow Saul, he didn’t create an insurrection among the ranks of Saul’s men but he was content to let the Lord work out his purposes.
We have many examples in the Bible of men who were not content to let the Lord work out his purposes. Take the case of Jacob. God wanted to give the blessing to Jacob. God intended that blessing through Jacob that the race would come. Esau the twin brother was to be set aside, he would become the father of the Edomites but it was through Jacob that the line will come to bring the Messiah. God chose that, chose Jacob. Jacob knew that that was the purpose of God.
Somehow he felt that God couldn’t accomplish his purpose unless he helped God out. He wasn’t satisfied just to wait on God and let God do it. He had to disguise himself as his brother, he had to go in and deceive his father and get the blessing, which created that animosity between him and his brother and his descendents and his brother’s descendents. The Edomites were pretty much perennial enemies of Israel until the Edomites of course ultimately, according to the prophecies, disappeared from the face of the earth.
Abraham, that great father of the faith, had the promise of God that he was going to give him a son through which all of the nations of the earth would be blessed. As he was getting older, approaching a hundred, his wife said, “Honey, we better help God out. Obviously we’ve tried for so many years and it’s not going to happen. So you take my little servant girl Hagar and you go in unto her and let her become sort of a surrogate mother”. Hagar was to become a surrogate mother. “When the child is born I’ll be right there. I’ll be the midwife and take the child and it will be as my child”. God can’t work out his purpose so now we are going to help God out.
Whenever you start to help God out it always becomes stressful. We discover that God doesn’t really need our help. He can work his purposes without our help. It’s that person who is content to just leave it in God’s hands. If God wants me to be king he will work it out. I don’t have to press for it, I don’t have to have this ambition and all these schemings and planning and conniving that creates all this unrest. If God wants to do it God can do it.
We find David willing to wait for God to work out the purpose.
neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me (131:1).
It’s interesting how often we strive seeking to know the unknowable. God said, “My ways are not your ways for my ways are beyond your finding out”. He told us that. They are beyond your finding out. Think of all the strife you have gone through trying to find out what you can’t find out. Why did God allow that to happen? Why did God do it that way? Why did this happen to me? If I’d only done this or that maybe…we spend so much time with this “If I only” and with the “why’s” trying to find out what God said you can’t find out exercising ourselves in matters that are too high for us. In doing that, you can’t have contentment, you can’t have peace.
Because David wasn’t prideful, because he wasn’t filled with a driving ambition and because he didn’t exercise himself in those matters that were beyond him he was like a child that was weaned. He was satisfied and contented to leave things with God.
Surely I have behave and quieted myself, as a child (131:1).
Now David gives an exhortation.
Let Israel hope in the LORD (131:3).
There’s the key. Put your confidence, your trust and your hope in the Lord because unless the Lord does do it, all of your efforts are in vain anyhow. In the modern application it would be “Let us hope in the LORD”.
Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever (131:3).
This is now what should take place when a person comes to the sanctuary of God to worship God. He should come into the consciousness of the greatness of God, the power of God, the glory of God and the loved of God. Putting your hope in the Lord you should experience just that peace and contentment as you lay the whole burden and the whole issue over to the Lord. You know it’s great sitting here to say, “Praise the Lord. Take it Lord. I give it to you” but you pick up before you leave the door tonight if you are half-way normal. Having cast your cares upon him, leave them there don’t pick them up again. It’s from now to forever.
The one hundred and thirty-second psalm is a psalm that is, more or less, dedicated to David who made Jerusalem the center of worship for the nation of Israel. During the time of Saul’s reign the Ark and the tabernacle were in Gilboa. It was then captured at the end of Saul’s reign by the Philistines who found that they could not live with the Ark and thus they sent it back to the Israelis who carried it to the House of Obededom in Kirjath Jearim. There it remained up until the time that David came to the throne. Once David was established upon the throne one of the first things that he desired to do was to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem to make the tabernacle there in Jerusalem so that that would become the place of worship for the nation. It would become the religious center of the nation so that when the people came to worship the Lord on the feast days they would becoming to Jerusalem, to Mount Zion, to the place that God had chosen for the arc to dwell.
This is the songs of the pilgrims as they were coming to Jerusalem to worship God. In the coming to Jerusalem to worship God there is that realization of the reason why we are coming to Jerusalem is because of what God laid upon the heart of David to do.
LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions: (132:1).
He had his share.
How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob: Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up to my bed: I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob [Israel] (132:2-5).
I’m not going to be content, I’m not going to rest until I created a place for the Ark of the Covenant where the people could come and worship God. It was just on the heart of David to do. So much so that he was determined not to rest in his own home, his own tabernacle. He was not going to rest until he created this place for God, that we can rest this tabernacle there where God can dwell there in the midst of the people.
Now we know that later on in David’s life, as he had then built a palace and he was dwelling in the palace, they were still worshiping the Lord in the tabernacle the tent. David said one day sitting there in his palace and enjoying all the luxuries of the palace, maybe he saw the old tent flapping in the wind “That’s not fair, that’s not right. God is living in a tent and me in a house”. So he was determined that he was going to build this magnificent for the Lord. He told his friend Nathan that he was going to build this marvelous temple to place the arc of the Covenant, a place for God to dwell. Nathan said, “David that sounds great”. God short-circuited that plan, came to Nathan in the night and said to tell David that he cannot build the house. That’s when God said, “Tell him I’ll build him a house” and God promised that the Messiah would come.
It was a disappointing thing to David that God would reject him from building the house. God said, “Your hands are too bloody. I can’t have you building a house for me. Your son will build it”. So David said, “God didn’t say anything about not planning it” so David drew up the plans. He said, “God didn’t say anything about not gathering the materials” so David gathered all of the gold and everything else for the house of the Lord. Again David’s concern with the place of worship, the house of the Lord. In bringing and setting up the tabernacle, it was so that they could bring in the Ark of the Covenant so that the people would have a place to come and worship God.
Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood. We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength (132:6-8).
The Kirjath Jearim was in Ephratah. That’s where David went to get the ark to bring it onto Jerusalem. So we will go into the tabernacle, worship at his footstool, arise O Lord into thy rest or the place that we have created for the Ark of the Covenant. The ark of thy strength is the Ark of the Covenant, setting it up there in the tabernacle there in Jerusalem. Now that we have established this place of worship.
Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed. The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne (132:9-11).
In second Chronicles chapter six this was the close of Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple. These verses beginning with verse nine, you have Solomon’s prayer and dedication back in verse forty in second Chronicles chapter six.
“Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness. O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant (II Chronicles 6:40-42).
So you can see the parallel between this psalm and the close of Solomon’s prayer. It could be that Solomon was quoting this at the end of his prayer.
God made the promise to David that from the fruit of his body he would set one upon the throne. David understood that to mean that the Messiah who would reign forever would be a descendent of David. He rightly interpreted it that way. God promised that there would never cease to be one of David’s seed sitting upon the throne but it was a conditional promise.
If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation (132:12-13).
The promise that God made to David concerning his children sitting upon the throne, the dynasty of David being a perpetual dynasty was conditional upon them keeping God’s covenant and testimony. However, David’s descendents did not. By the time you get to Zedekiah they had turned away from the Lord, they had turned to idolatry thus they were destroyed. They went into captivity and God predicted the end of that dynasty.
There are those that do not look upon this as a conditional promise of God but as an unconditional promise. Thus they say it must be that God kept that promise and therefore they have established what they call the British Israel Teaching, that the Anglo-Saxon races are actually the ten northern tribes of Israel. So if you are an Anglo-Saxon then you then are actually an Israelite, you are from one of the ten northern tribes. They have a phrase that is not really scriptural, “The lost tribes of the house of Israel”. The Bible never speaks of the lost tribes, they were never lost. God always knew where they were as he knows where they are today. Paul the apostle was from the tribe of Benjamin, he knew that.
Jesus sent the disciples out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and there are references of all of the tribes being known at the time of the writing of the New Testament. In order to embellish this British Israel Teaching they say that Jeremiah, when he knew that Nebuchadnezzar was coming with his troops back to Jerusalem after the rebellion of Gedaliah, took one of the descendents of David one of the children of the royal family and spirited him off to England. Supposedly there he crowned him in England with several of those from the northern tribes who escaped to England. According to their teachings, the Queen of England is a direct descendant of David. Thus it is the longest continuing monarchy and they try to trace it back to David, the Anglo-Saxon nations of Europe as the ten tribes of Israel.
They have such proof as Denmark meaning Dan’s mark, the tribe of Dan. They say that the tribe of Dan settled there in Denmark so they are called Danish people. The word “ish” in Hebrew means man so Danish, Dan’s man, thus the tribe of Dan (very obvious). The British, Swedish, wherever you get the “ish” is one of the tribes. Foolish…
Notice here and this is a quoting of the promise that God made, it was conditional. David’s descendents broke the condition but underneath it all the promise was fulfilled in Jesus. He shall reign forever and ever. He shall never cease sitting upon the throne.
“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
That promise will be fulfilled through Jesus Christ the Messiah who is coming and who will reign forever upon the throne of David. There shall never cease one of David’s seed sitting upon the throne. That’s the thing God told him that really wiped him out.
For the LORD hath chosen Zion [Jerusalem]; he hath desired it for his habitation (132:13).
They’re coming to Jerusalem to worship God because God had chosen this as his place to dwell and to meet the people.
This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it (132:14).
Quoting Psalm sixty-eight verse sixteen.
I will abundantly bless her provision I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation: (132:15-16).
That’s a response to the prayer in the earlier part, “Let her priests be clothed with righteousness and salvation” in second Chronicles.
and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. There will I make the horn of David to bud: (132:16-17).
That is of course the horn of David would be Jesus Christ the Messiah.
I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed [Messiah] (132:17).
Anointed in Hebrew is Mashiyach or my Messiah.
His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish (132:18).
God really responds here. You notice that the last where God speaks in response to the prayer; “Arise oh Lord to thy rest, Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, Let the saints shout for joy”. In verse fourteen God responds he said, “This is my rest forever, here will I dwell for I have desired it”. In response to verse thirteen, “I will abundantly bless her provision, I will satisfy her poor and I will also clothed her priests with salvation”. So God is responding, affirming that he will do these things.
Psalm one hundred and thirty-three the people are all gathered again. They are worshiping God . God has brought them into the glorious place. As we stand before God we all stand on the same level. Standing before God, no one is exalted above the other. All men standing before God stand on that same level together, God is no respecter of persons. When we gather to worship God we gather as one “there is neither Jew nor Greek nor Barbarian, bond or free. We are all on the same level, we are all brought to the same level before God.
BEHOLD, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (133:1).
What a beautiful thing when God’s people gather together to worship the Lord. When God has drawn us together and we are here before the Lord just in this unity, in this oneness that is ours in the body of Christ, how good and how pleasant it is.
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (133:2).
When Aaron was chosen by the Lord to be the high-priest who would go into the tabernacle, into the holy of holies, to stand before the Ark of the Covenant and make intercession for the nation God gave to Moses the design for this beautiful robe that Aaron was to wear. This crown that he wore upon his head with the gemstones in it, the shoulders with the gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel, the breastplate with it’s gemstones and the colors it was no doubt a magnificent thing. When it was all prepared by these men that God had skilled and Aaron put on these beautiful vestments and now he is to be anointed as the high-priest, Moses took this cruse of oil and poured it over Aaron, the oil that was made according to the compounding of the law. It was poured down his beard and dripped down his skirt. It was a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Oil is often a symbol of the Spirit in the scriptures, the anointing of the Spirit and the covering of the Spirit. It was a very exciting thing.
Men dwelling in unity worshiping God. It’s just like that precious ointment that they poured over Aaron’s head that came down his beard and dripped down his skirt. Then taking the allegory in another direction.
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew descended upon the mountains of Zion: (133:3).
The glorious rain that comes from the north down for Hermon covers the land falling on Zion.
for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (133:3).
So the description of the refreshment, the glory of men and women gathering together to worship God together in unity.
Psalm one hundred and thirty-four is the final psalm of the degrees or the ascent. This is the last in this series. We’ve had fifteen of them and this is the last of the series. It is now an exhortation, you are there, you’ve arrived, you participated in the worship, you’ve gathered together in unity and you’ve seen the beauty.
BEHOLD, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD (134:1).
A beautiful thing about the temple and about the tabernacle is that they had appointed priests who would always be there night and day singing praises unto God. There never ceased to be praises ascending to God from the place of worship. You can go there anytime of the night or day and you can hear the priests in there singing the psalms, singing the praises unto the Lord. That to me is just beautiful and exciting. It’s inspiring.
The last time we were going through the psalms, six years or so ago, when we got to this and we were talking about how they would stand in the house of the Lord to bless the Lord at night, that’s where the inspiration came for the all night men’s prayer meeting. Since that time we have men during the night, here at the church, praising the Lord and praying over the needs. That’s why you can call at night and you’ll find men here who are there to minister to you. The inspiration came out of this. How marvelous it was that there were those priests always worshiping and praising God there in the temple night and day. We wanted to have somewhat that kind of a thing.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD (134:2).
The exhortation for those priests that were there.
The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion (134:3).
As people bless the Lord they are blessed of the Lord. You’ve discovered that. You can’t out give God. God will never be debtor to you. You can never give to God but what God won’t give back to you measured out, pressed down, running over. After exhorting them and extolling those that where there blessing God in the sanctuary then the return and the response is God bless you the one who made the heaven and the earth.
Psalm one hundred and thirty-five is a psalm that begins and ends with the Hebrew word Hallelujah, Praise ye the Lord.
PRAISE ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD: praise him, O ye servants of the LORD (135:1).
The exhortation to praise. It seems rather sad and pathetic to me that people have to be exhorted to praise the Lord. It seems to me that this would be one of the most natural things for redeemed man. The Lord has done so much for us you think that praise would just be an automatic natural thing. Everytime we think about God we would be praising the Lord, everytime we would think about what God has done we would be praising the Lord.
I’m afraid lest we are much like those ten lepers who came to Jesus for healing. He said, “Go show yourself to the priests” which was the first step of restoration to society. They had to go be accounted by the priests, be put in the house for seven days and examine them again. If there was no further development then they would be declared clean and bring the sacrifice. They could go back home, they could live in the community once more. So it was the first step of being restored to the community life. As they went to go show themselves to the priests they were cleansed. One of them when he looked down and he saw it’s gone and realized that he was healed, he came running back to Jesus giving thanks to the Lord. The Lord said, “Were there not ten who were cleansed? Where are the nine?” I wonder how many times the Lord is saying “Where are the nine?” Are you among the nine?
To be exhorted to praise the Lord seems to be, to me, a rather sad thing that that is necessary and yet all through the Bible we are exhorted to praise the Lord. Emphasis, three times over the psalmist states to praise him.
Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God, Praise the LORD; (135:2-3).
for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; (135:3).
for it is pleasant (135:3).
For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure (135:4).
Peter tells us that the Lord has chosen you for his peculiar treasure. He said, “We are a royal priesthood, we are a chosen nation that we should bring forth praise to him, we are his peculiar treasure”. That is one of the most amazing things to me of all, the fact that God treasures me. Now I have every reason in the world to treasure God and to consider him as a glorious treasure. For God to consider me as his treasure is something that I find hard to really grasp.
Paul prayed for the Ephesians that you might know what is his exceeding inheritance in the same. How much God does treasure you. If you only knew how much God treasured you, how much he values you; God’s treasure.
For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods (135:5).
He is great, he’s to be praised above all gods. There are other gods and men have worshiped other gods. Men today do worship other gods but Jehovah is above all gods.
Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, (135:6).
He reigns in heaven, he’s sovereign over the universe.
and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places (135:6).
This is intended to take everything in the universe. The Lord does what he pleases, he’s sovereign. He reigns. He rules.
He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; (135:7).
Talking now about the rain cycle.
he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries (135:7).
Beautiful, picturesque. It’s interesting how he sees the rain, the vapors arising from the ends of the earth, how the sun beating down on the ocean the hydrogen and oxygen are turned into gas forms and carried into the atmosphere. Then he takes his wind out of his treasuries and moves these clouds with the gasses. Designs them so that as they cool in the ratio to their cooling the gasses again are condensed to water molecules then they drop thus God has designed to water the earth.
Can you see a design in that at all? Can you see any wisdom in that? In order that we might have water during the long summer times he lets it drop as snow on the mountains preserving it. Keeping it cold so that gradually during the summer the longer days and light hours it melts in the streams. I cannot fathom the audacity of the evolutionists that can look at all of this and think that it all just so happened by chance, fortunately, that this is the way it works. How much better is it that a person can look at this and worship God who designed and created it?
It’s so irrational to worship nature, to look at these things and say, “Marvelous, that’s god”. There are a lot of gods but the God who made them is above them all. These men who are willing to worship these other things, they become the gods in their lives. There is one true and living God who is above all gods.
Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast. Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants. Who smote the great nations, and slew mighty kings: Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og King of Bashan, and all of the kingdoms of Canaan: And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people. Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations. For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants (135:8-14).
We’ve talked before of this phrase of God repenting. We have a difficulty in talking about God, his nature and characteristics because the only way we can talk about them is in human language. Thus you have that problem of trying of define or to describe an infinite God in finite terms. You can see at the beginning that we are doomed for a real problem. All we can describe God with is terms that we use for ourselves, in terms that we can relate to. God, the infinite God, dwelling in the eternal; we don’t have words to define or describe because we can’t even think, it’s foreign to us to think around the infinite or the eternal or whatever.
In describing God in using human terms, when there seems to be an apparent change, and the word repent in its root is to change, then we say then God repented in that he didn’t destroy, he didn’t wipe out. To actually say that God repents is wrong because the Bible tells us that “God is not a man that he should repent has he not said and shall he not do it”. When we are expecting God to move a certain way and he doesn’t, he doesn’t follow our patterns we say, “God changed his mind”. It would appear that that may have happened but we can only describe it in human terms so we have problems with that. The word is used but in reality God doesn’t change. “Behold I’m the Lord God, I change not.” From our side, so many times, there seems to be an apparent change.
He goes on to contrast the living true God, the creator of the universe, with the gods of the heathen.
The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands (135:15).
In other words there are man-created gods. Many people are trying to say today that God is the invention of man. The idea of God was created by man because man needed to believe in something so he made up God. God is sort of a creation of man. What a ridiculous thing! That’s a part of this whole humanism that makes the world revolve around man, man is the top of all things. This elevating of man, humanism, would make God then the invention or the creation of man rather than man being created by God. What a turnaround, “I created God”. That’s certainly is ridiculous!
It is acknowledged that men did make idols and they did worship these idols. The idols were representative to them of their gods. Ancient man lived closer to the truth than we live. We have created so many facades upon façade upon façade that man it’s hard to find the real person, you have to dig through one façade after another to get to the real person. They live closer to nature, closer to earth, closer to reality, closer to truth. We hide the truth, so many times, behind the facades.
They marveled at the reproductive capacity of man, the power to create new life. Thus they began to worship the reproductive organs of the body. They made idols to represent these things. They would worship that because, after all, they mystery of the origin of life, new life, a new child; it was marvelous, it was mysterious. We know it happens but how? It was one of those things that was sort of shrouded in mystery to them but it was godlike in the capacity to create so they worshiped it. They had the female sex goddess Ashorem which was to the Greeks, Aphrodite which was to the Romans, Venus and all of the statues that went with it, the female goddess of sex. All of these idols represented their object of worship.
Now in our world today we have many people who worship sex, it’s their god or goddess. They don’t carve out little idols anymore, they have pictures maybe in magazines that would be an equivalent in a sense to the idols. If you look at a person’s life, their whole life revolves around sex and sexual encounters. The excitement and the sexuality is their whole life, that’s what their life revolves around. That’s what they live for and that’s what they talk about. It is really the god that controls their life. Their life is controlled by this. We are too sophisticated to make an idol today but none the less it is still the god.
In those days they enjoyed pleasure also and so they had their god of pleasure, Molech. The little idols of Molech actually represented the fact that they live for pleasure, their whole life was geared around the pleasure principle. There are people today whose lives are all centered around pleasure. The heathenish, the philosophies that said pleasure was the chief good and there are people today who buy into that. Their whole life, they only work in order that they might get off on the weekend so they can take off with their hang gliders so they can have their thrills, that rush of these things, they live for that. Getting on that curl of that wave and the feeling you get when you go down, that free ride on nature. They don’t have little idols that they put their candles and offer their prayers and all to this little god of pleasure but none the less they still worship pleasure. It is their god.
There were those in those days who worshipped power. I want to have, I want to possess, I want to rule and thus they had their little god of Mammon that represented their chief goal of life. This was to possess to control and to rule. There were those who worshipped the intellect. They said. “The most important thing in life is to know”. They were constantly studying, constantly reading, constantly trying to gain as much insight and knowledge as they possible could. They had their little idol that they carved and they said, “This is the god of knowledge” and they worshipped knowledge; their desire to know.
Men have made these gods themselves, our God made us.
They have mouths, but they speak not; (135:16).
They carved out a little mouth on that idol but they can’t talk.
eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: neither is there any breath in their mouths (135:16-17).
In other words when man makes a god he makes it like himself. If a man does not worship the true and the living god then he does worship a projection of himself. Self-worship, if I were god this is what I would do, this is how I would be, this is what I feel is the most important thing in life, this is what I worship, this is the thing that rules me, this is the ideal that governs me and this is my master passion; a projection of me. It’s sort of like me. So when a man makes a god he makes it like himself. Because I have eyes I carve eyes on my little god, because I have ears I carve ears, because I have a mouth I carve a mouth.
When a man makes a god he makes it like himself but he makes it less then himself. Though I carve the ears the little god still can’t hear, though I carve the eyes the little god still can’t see and though I carve a mouth it still cannot count. So I’ve made it like me but in reality I’ve made it less than me.
They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them (135:18).
The inescapable truth of life is that you become like your god. If your god can’t see you are becoming blind to the truth yourself. If your god can’t hear you are becoming deaf to the voice of nature. If your god is insensate you are becoming insensate. If your god is false you are becoming false. A man becomes like his god. Remember when you made your god you made your god like yourself but you made it less than yourself thus if you are becoming like your god you’re on the road down if your god is a false god. Becoming like your god you are degrading. So I want you to observe all of those who have rejected the true and the living God and watch their life. Their lives are in the process of being degraded. Sin is degraded and to worship pleasure is degrading, to worship money is degrading.
On the other hand if a man becomes like his God, if you are worshiping the true and the living God and you are becoming like your God think of how wonderful that is. The scripture affirms that that is true. “Beloved now are we the sons of God it doesn’t yet appear what we are going to be but we know when he appears we are going to be like him.” Why? Because I am becoming like my God. Paul said, “And we with unveiled faces as we behold the glory of the Lord are being changed from glory into glory into the same image by the power of the spirit within us”. That’s why it’s so important that you worship the true and the living God because that is always an uplifting, you’re becoming better as you are worshiping the true and the living God. If you are worshiping the false God you are going down, you are being degraded.
I’ve observed something else that I think is rather interesting. For those who have established the intellect as their god, to know and to understand is the most important thing in the world thus I spend my hours in study pouring over volumes that I might expand my understanding of the world around me. Well tell me friend, what about the eternal God, the one who created the universe? The ultimate knowledge would be the knowledge of that eternal God, tell me about him. I’m an agnostic and they make it sound like they came right out of class at Harvard. They give sort of a nasal kind of a Harvard tone so that it really sounds sophisticated. Interesting, do you know what agnostic means? Yes, not to know. It comes from the Greek. Gnosko is to know but an “a” in Greek is a negative prefix, sort of like our non in English. So you have “theos” meaning God and “atheos” meaning no God. Do you know what the Latin word is for not to know? Ignoramus.
You have this guy who says, “To know is the most important thing and I spend my life studying”. Tell me about ultimate knowledge, I’m an ignoramus. In reality that is what they are telling you. Isn’t that fascinating? You make knowledge your god, you worship it and you end up with a confession of ignorance. The person who worships power ends up a slave.
There is a very wealthy man who befriended me, invited me out to lunch. The interesting thing though, this fellow has never had to really work a day in his life but so often I get stuck with the bill. He’s very clever at that because he has a hard time spending his money. He has a hard time letting it go. I’ve met people who have just become a slave to their money. That’s what they worship, they worship it so much they can’t let it go. Instead of enjoying it and using it they just seek to get more and more. They are never satisfied.
So you make power your God and you become a slave. You make intellect your god and you become an ignoramus. You make pleasure your god and you become filled with lust. You begin to have an unfilled desire or worse than that, an unfulfillable desire. The desire is still there but you can’t fulfill it. So you go around in a continual lust never being satisfied, always seeking more and yet you’ve made fulfillment for that moment as your God. You become jaded, tragic. They that worship them become like them and so does everyone who trusts in them.
Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron: Bless the LORD, O house of Lei: ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD (135:19-20).
How wonderful it is to worship and to serve the true and the living God to becoming like him. A God of love, I’m becoming loving. The God of purity, I’m becoming pure. A God of holiness, I’m becoming holy. God of righteousness, I’m becoming righteous. A God of peace, I’m filled with peace.
Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD (135:21).
May the Lord be with you and keep you in His love and grace this week as you walk in fellowship with Jesus Christ. May the spirit of God work in you as He is conforming you into the image of Jesus. I pray that this week you’ll spend a lot of time in the spiritual development growing spiritually in the things of the Lord and the ways of the Lord, walking in His path.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7212