May 31, 2020

I’m Sticking With Jesus

Preacher: Randy Smith Series: Miscellaneous Scripture: Psalm 104:31–35

I’m Sticking With Jesus

Psalm 104:31–35
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Pastor Randy Smith

This past week I read an online article about a contemporary Christian musician who recently denied his faith in Christ. After I finished the sad article, I began to read the comments that were left below. More sadness. Most of the remarks from so-called believers we’re plagued with unbiblical doctrine or an unloving heart. Sometimes both. I was ashamed.

Then you had the remarks from the unbelievers – the proud atheists, congratulating the young man for setting himself free from the shackles of religion. No longer would he have to be in association with all those hypocritical people and the oppressive God he claimed to worship. He was told that finally he could think for himself and for the first time enjoy the fullness of life.

Regardless of which side you stand, all of us are forced to make the most important decision of our lives. Will we cling to Jesus Christ with every fiber of our being or will we run from Him with every ounce of our existence? These are the only two options. Which one will be to our greatest benefit?

So, taking a break from Luke and looking at the conclusion of Psalm 104, let’s see what the Word of God has to say on this matter. If you are without Christ, for you own hope and joy, please consider what I have to say this morning. And if you are with Christ, I pray this message brings you great encouragement during these tough days.

God Is Present (verses 31–32)

The first point, “God is Present.”

I did an interview last week and was asked why I enjoy hiking in the great outdoors. And though I provided many answers to that question, my primary answer was that God reveals Himself in creation. Eric Liddle , the track athlete from “Chariots of Fire” is quoted as saying, “God made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” The same applies to me. When I am outside and experiencing the beauty and diversity of creation, I feel God’s pleasure.

You see, God has given us creation not to ignore it or to worship it. Rather, God has given us creation to reveal, Romans 1, “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature.” Creation is a means to display God and to behold His glory. Creation leads us to worship of God, praising Him for His greatness, beauty, order and design, just to name a few.

I say this because Psalm 104 is one of those great Psalms that speaks about God’s glory in creation. In verses 2-4 God is identified with the light, the sky, the clouds and the wind. Verse 5 speaks of God establishing the earth. Verses 6-13 talk about the waters, thunder, mountains, springs, valleys and animals. And this continues throughout the psalm.

Creation, as done often in Scripture, is personified as always responding rightly to God. Verse 13 and 28 talk about creation being satisfied, creation obeying God (verse 19) and creation waiting on God (verse 27). In our passage, verse 32, “He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke.” It is a reverent response from creation simply from a look or touch from its Creator.

Obviously, creation does not think for itself, but the point is that God has hardwired creation to glorify Himself. And that not only shines light on God’s glory, but is also casts shame on the human race. Reason being is because we have been created above the rest of creation with the ability to think for ourselves and for the distinct purpose of glorifying God. And while intimate creation is satisfied with God, obeys God, waits on God and respects God, quite often humans, who should be first in line for the aforementioned do exactly the opposite (cf. Gen. 6:6).

As compared to verse 32, is the fear of God before our eyes? Do we understand Him as the Consuming Fire? Does His look or touch set our hearts ablaze to serve Him? Do we realize the care and love He has for people, whereby we can find our peace and joy in Him?

In Colossians 1:16 we read, “All things have been created through Him and for Him.” The only way we will understand our place in this world and the only way God will receive the glory that is due His name is if we acknowledge Him as Creator who made us with the loving intent that we might find our being in Him. As creation seeks to glorify the Lord, we of all creation should lead the way to seeking to glorify the Lord. When we truly see God for who He is, this becomes the driving force of our being. As the Psalmist prayed in verse 31, “Let the glory of the LORD endure forever,” starting first in my own life.

You see, we will live for glory. If it is not finding our purpose in God’s glory, it will be in the shallow and temporary and superficial attempts to glorify ourselves . Thus, we are acting outside of our created intent and not only do we shame the Lord, but we also shame ourselves. Life only makes sense when we live for Someone greater than ourselves. As creation makes God glad, our desire, verse 31, also is to “let the LORD be glad in His works.” It is the only win-win scenario for life.

You see, when God finished creation, pre-fall, He said, “It [is] very good” (Gen. 1:31). However, Romans 8 tells us creation is groaning to be set free from its slavery. How much are we groaning because our lives are out of sync with God? How much do we desire to see the recreation process sped up whereby our lives are more in line with His purposes? How much do we desire God to look at us, practically speaking, and say “It [is] very good?” When He looks at us, is He (verse 31), “glad?”

Acknowledging God’s Presence (verses 33–34)

So, as we move to the second point, it has to begin with this desire to please the Lord. But the desire must always show itself in action. In verse 33-34 we see the Psalmist identify three ways that He will seek to glorify the Lord.

First in verse 33, “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”

God created sound and creation glorifies the Lord by the noise that it makes from the beautiful singing of a bird to the loud roar of a lion. Again, it is about created purpose whereby God has created a symphony of praise to Himself.

And who should be sitting “first chair,” following the divine conductor with the most specific and most intentional song? The thunderclaps? The raging ocean? It is those who He has created to enter a personal relationship with Him. Unlike the rest of creation, we have experienced His love. We have received His Word. We have feasted upon His goodness. We have understood His glorious attributes. We have rested in His promises. Our only response is to burst into songs of praise.

I love how Psalm 104 begins with good theology in verse 1. “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” And then the Psalm concludes with joyful singing (in verse 33) as a result on contemplating the greatness of God. Good theology should result in good doxology. Look how the Psalm ends in verse 35. “Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!”

Here is how we know our knowledge of our God transcends our knowledge of our unfavorable circumstances. Here’s how we know our hearts are overflowing with a desire to praise Him.

Second, in addition to singing is meditation. Verse 34, “Let my meditation be pleasing to Him.” Just as singing is an overflow of understanding God, meditation is a deep thought pattern, guided by Scripture, that focuses on an understanding God. In other words, revelation of God understood results in song, but to rightly understand and appreciate revelation, we must be engaged in meditation.

So, if the context is to be pleasing to God, focusing our thoughts on God for only one hour each Sunday morning, falls way short of acknowledging Him as the priority of our lives. Our minds will naturally dwell on that which brings us the greatest joy. How often throughout the day are we thinking about God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible? How often are we, like the Psalmist, also using creation in our meditation?

And that leads us to the third way we glorify God. Verse 34, “As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.” Why do we meditate on God? Because it brings us gladness. What is the result of meditation on God? A desire to sing gladly to the Lord.

So, what do we see here? That God desires relationship. That God does not want just our song, but that He wants our hearts. That God does not just want our spiritual exercises, but that He wants our joy in them. This is about God’s glory and God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. And when we can find our satisfaction in Him, we will in turn find our deepest satisfaction in this life.

So, when I am reading these discussion questions online and people are congratulating this man for denying his faith, claiming that he now will experience the greatness of life, I am forced to wonder specifically what that means? Is true life the opposite of what Christ commands? Is joy found in living for yourself as Lord? Is it found in being unkind and unloving? Is it going through life addicted to money and substance? It is having no moral compass? Is it sleeping around with others? Is it struggling through marriage with disobedient children? Aren’t these the very reasons many of us turned to Christ in the first place? Does living apart from God’s glory really bring joy? Look at the world. Quite the contrary.

So, verse 31 – “Let the Lord be glad in [me]. And now verse 34 – “Let [me] be glad in the Lord.” Harmony!

Denying God’s Presence (verse 35)

Let’s go to the final point. God has been very patient with humanity, but He is far too glorious to go this way forever without receiving the glory that is due His name. So, when we ignore God’s glory, not only to we rebel against our Creator, but we also promise for ourselves (as I just said) agony in this life, but also something else, horror in the one to come.

The culmination of God’s plan will result in a complete reversal of the fall, full redemption. And those who chose to rebel will only seal their own eternal fate for themselves. Verse 35, “Let sinners be consumed from the earth and let the wicked be no more.”

This is not the Psalmist showing hate for others, rather this is the Psalmist staying in line with His desire to see God glorified (verse 31). He is simply deeply loving what God Himself most deeply loves Himself.

The first Adam led the world into sin. The Second Adam will lead the world out of sin. Through His perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ will redeem a people for Himself. Like nature, they will obey His voice. They will be promised “fullness of joy” and “life indeed.” They will be the first fruits in God’s glorious recreation as they look to the day (Rev. 21-22) when all evil is cast out and all creation works as it was once intended, for God’s glory and for our joy – eternally.

other sermons in this series

Mar 3


The Entrusted Message

Preacher: J.T. Colville Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:16–21 Series: Miscellaneous