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Sunday, December 30, 2012

What are you counting on this year?

Most of the Psalms are written by David or the sons of Korah as a matter of worship - songs of celebration, praise, or love to the one true God.  This morning, I'd like us to look at a psalm of Solomon - the son of David and next king to rule over Israel after David's death.  The psalm opens with Solomon petitioning God to "gift the gift of wise rule" to him as he assumes his role as king.  In turn, he comes to a place of declaring much about what he "counts on" from the God he serves - namely things like God standing up for the poor and needy; taking care of those who would oppose the needy with tyrannical ways; and God bringing his foes to their knees.  Then we come to this portion of the passage:

All kings will fall down and worship, and godless nations sign up to serve him,
because he rescues the poor at the first sign of need, the destitute who have run out of luck.  He opens a place in his heart for the down-and-out, he restores the wretched of the earth.  He frees them from tyranny and torture—when they bleed, he bleeds; when they die, he dies.  (Psalm 72:11-14 MSG)


I chose this passage today because it speaks much about the very things we count on about God.  I think we often live in a world where we focus on the things we do "FOR" God (we call this religion), rather than focusing on the things God does for "US" (we call this relationship).  So, let us dive in a little to see what it is we "count on" from God in our lives.

1.  He rescues.  Does it strike you as odd that the first attribute Solomon outlines is that of a rescuer?  It doesn't seem like this should be foremost attribute when we think of the God of the Universe, does it?  Yet, if we read scripture well, we will see something my pastor outlined well this past weekend:  He loved!  He gave!  We believe!  We live!  (For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16)  What does a "lover" do for the one he loves?  Isn't he willing to give his life so the one he loves may be able to live?  In other words, he is willing to rescue!  What does a rescuer do?  He liberates, releases, redeems, ransoms, recovers, and saves!  So, first and foremost, we have a God who rescues - a Savior!

2.  He sees the need.  Nothing speaks more about how much another loves you than to have them meet some unspoken need in your life.  There have been times when I have been totally caught unaware by the love of individuals - without even speaking a word about my need.  God does this ALL the time!  He sees the need often even before we are aware of it ourselves - and to top it off, he is already busy setting things in order to meet that need!

3.  He opens a place in his heart.  Going back to our John 3:16 passage, we can see God loved - therefore, he opened his heart and gave!  He loved - we receive!  Even the faith to believe is not of our own doing - he gives it, as well!  He loved!  He gave!  We believe because he gives us the faith to believe!  Now, we live - exuberant, whole, and recreated lives!  Don't let it escape you - God opens a place in his heart not for just a few, but for whoever believes!  If we believe he is the one true God, his Son is the only begotten son of God, and that he died, rose again, and sits at the right hand of God as our Savior, we experience the place he has for us in his heart!  Glory!

4.  He restores.  He brings us back to a place of soundness.  Yep, soundness! I picked this one feature of "restoration" because I think it speaks volumes more than just restoring something to its former condition.  If I wanted to be living according to my "former condition", I would not really think of this as being restored to much of an existence!  In fact, I kind of like the way God does the restoring, because he doesn't focus on the past state as much as he does on the future!  He gives us back "soundness" - the ability to have a grounded, whole, and satisfying foundation!  

5.  He experiences our pain.  We experience much in this life, but none of it escapes his "experiencing" it right along with us.  No path we take is devoid of his presence - no amount of pain escapes his care.  He went before us into the grave - experiencing death like none other - then overcame the hold of the grave, so we'd live again!  Now, I don't know about you, but that gives me a hope like none other!  

I wish we'd all experience God in this way.  As the new year is upon us, may the love of God touch your heart deeply, his hand reach out to rescue you from the hold of your past, and his creative hand bring soundness to your life!  Happy New Year all!