May 16, 2019
Presence | May 16, 2019
May 16, 2019
This week’s sermon text: Matthew 22:34-40
Read the psalm aloud with expression and feeling. How does this psalm compare to the way you pray when you feel like the writer does?
Psalm 139 (A psalm of David)
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
All of the psalms are designed to teach us one thing…to worship. These psalms reflect every human emotion, but they do so in a distinct and important way: they are emotions seen in relationship to God. Every psalm is written in the presence of God. This book, therefore, teaches us how to be honest before God. If you have a problem, tell God about it. Don’t hide it. Don’t cover it up. Especially don’t get pious and sanctimonious and try to smooth it over. If you are angry with God, say so. If you are upset about something he has done [or not done], tell him so. If you are resentful, bring it out. If you are happy and glad, express that. That is what worship is…a heart’s honesty.[ The Worship of an Honest Heart, Ray Stedman.org ]
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
Consider these questions as you reread the psalm:
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there a lesson to learn?
- Is there a blessing to enjoy?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a new thought to carry with me?
Lord, there’s no place to run, no place to hide! Help me take that one thing I am hiding from you and give it light, help me to lay it on the altar. Only then can that thing begin to transform and start to heal. Today, Lord, I give you ____________________________. Amen.