狭山福音教会の聖書ショートメッセージ・レジメ・コラム・例話(キリスト教 )

大阪狭山市にあるプロテスタントキリスト教会。JEC狭山福音教会の牧師による聖書ショートメッセージ・コラム(説教 例話)。

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2017-03-07 17:05:55 | キリスト教

Bless the Lord at All Times Psalm 131 1 My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. 3 Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.
1. Many of us probably do not realize this but we are now in a valley.
 Two months ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. It was a joyous season filled with gifts, parties and fun. As Christians, we also had Christmas worship, Christmas plays, cantatas, candlelight services, etc. We were on the mountaintop, in a spiritual mountain.
 A month from now, God willing, we will commemorate the Holy Week – a blessed time for us to remember the vicarious death of Jesus Christ – his arrest, suffering, death and resurrection. Many of us will be in camps, conferences and retreats. We will attend Good Friday service, Sunrise service, and Easter Sunday Worship. Some of us will also be taking vacations with our family and friends. A few weeks from now, we will again be on another mountain.
2. Today, journeying between two mountains, we are in a valley. Valley living is not always pleasant. The weather on the mountain is cooler, the view and sceneries are nicer, and the feeling is more uplifting.
3. For some of us, our valleys may even be a deep and dark one – filled with fears and uncertainties. A financial problem may
have brought you to that deep valley, you may have discovered that one of your parents has fourth stage cancer, a classmate or colleague may have taken away your spiritual fervor by her unkind words or actions.
4. As a result, you probably are in no mood to worship God today. You want to worship because you know it is your duty and you really love the Lord but you are in a valley. The question you are now probably asking is, “how can I worship God in my condition?
5. Because of this, I am inviting you to study Psa. 131 with me now. Psalm 131 is a psalm that King David had written. Exactly when and on what occasion, nobody knows! But many scholars believe that David wrote this psalm when he was in deep and dark valley. Like some of us today, he was at a low ebb of his life after being to a high emotional and spiritual mountain.
6. However, if you look carefully at the psalm, you will notice that the psalm he wrote was a psalm of worship. Nothing is in his life seems to be going right but still David was worshipping God and he even wrote a song just for that purpose. This psalm was such a down-to-earth and meaningful one, it became popular among the Israelites. It even became part of a collection of hymns called the songs of ascent – worship songs that the Israelites used when they ascended Jerusalem to worship God in His holy temple.
7. This morning, we are going to take a look at this short but beautiful psalm and I would like to highlight 3 important principles from the song of David with the hope that we can encourage each other to worship God today and at all times.
To worship God, we must give up our feeling of entitlement and recognize that God is sovereign (Verse 1)
In other words, to be able to worship God all the time, we must recognize that He alone decides our destiny; that He alone draws the line of where our lot falls and where the lot of others end; that we cannot demand anything from Him and are not entitled to any special treatment from him.
You see, a lot of times, especially when we are in a valley, we find it hard to worship God because we forget that He is the master and sovereign Lord of everything. We cannot worship Him because our hearts are filled with selfish expectations and we have a deep sense of entitlement just because we are children of God. Consequently, instead of worshipping Him, we are constantly demanding that God takes us out of our valley and that He grants the desires, every desire, of our heart.
But to be able to worship God, we must understand that who we are and everything that we have are His gifts to us. They are products of His mercy and grace … products of His wisdom, love and power. We are not entitled to any of these. God does not owe us anything and nothing is duly ours. We are not entitled to anything.
Earlier, I had mentioned that nobody knows the exact circumstances under which Psalm 131 was written. However, most scholars and Bible students believe that David wrote this psalm after he was anointed king of Israel and while waiting for Saul to vacate the throne (1 Sam 16).
David was a shepherd who never longed or dreamed to be the King of Israel. However, when the Lord rejected Saul as king, God chose David to replace him. Samuel was asked to anoint the shepherd boy as king while Saul was still on the throne.
David had other siblings who were seemingly more qualified and fit to be the king. The prophet Samuel also thought so. However, God chose David instead of his brothers so Samuel anointed him.
The anointing of David was an occasion for joy – it was an event that brought David to some emotional and spiritual heights. Sad to say, he was not on that mountain for long because, since that day, Saul hated him to the core. Out of jealousy and fear, he hated David and he even tried to kill Him on several occasions.
Many of those who supported Saul also hated David. To destroy David, they talked behind his back and slandered him. They said many things that were untrue and unkind. They uttered words that were meant to discourage David from ascending the throne and made up malicious stories that were meant to stop people from supporting David.
But take note, in spite of these, David did not react like a spoiled child. He did not demand that God immediately make true His promise to make him king. He did not remind God of how he was chosen. He did not nag God about his ascension to the throne. Instead, he worshipped God.
How was he able to worship God in that kind of situation? David was able to worship God because his “heart was not proud” and his “eyes were not haughty.” He was able to worship God because he did “not concern <himself> with great matters or things too wonderful for <him>.”
You have to understand that, in verse 1, David was not bragging about his humility. If he were, he would not have been truly humble and God would certainly see through that.
Text message received: When I was a student, our school once gave me an award – the most humble student award. Sad to say, the school took back the award several days later because, every day, I wore the medal to school.
David was not bragging about his humility; he was just telling God something that God knows and can attest to. He was telling God that he was not presumptuous of anything nor was he harboring any sense of entitlement in his heart. David knew that God’s plans for him will never be thwarted. He knew that God is a promise keeper and he will deliver His promise to make him king of Israel.
Consequently, he was not impatient of the delay nor was he afraid of what was happening around him.
You know a lot of times, we are unable to worship God because we are proud and haughty. In our heart, we think we are a VIP and everything that we want or need, God must give to us, IMMEDIATELY. Because we think we are someone important, we believe that God should treat us accordingly.
This is more so if we have been faithful in following God and in carrying out His will. We think that God should never allow bad things happen to us. We think that everybody should like us, love us. We think that God should grant us special favor and give us special treatment. We think we are ENTITLED to these and expect God to comply with all our expectations.
I have been a Christian all my life, in all my years as a Christian, I have seen many spoiled brats in God’s family.
 When life is good, they say, “God is good all the time” but when life is bad, they say, “God is unfair and I am the target of His injustice all the time.”
 When they get what they want, they say, “I love God all my life!” but when they do not get what they want, they say, “I will not go to church anymore.”
 When God answers their prayers, they say, “Lord, you are so kind. Thank you for this undeserved favor” but when unanswered, they say, “Lord, you are so blind. I don’t deserve this!”
You see, spoiled brats are people who are haughty in their heart. They are people who think that they are entitled to special treatments – favors that will match their self-proclaimed importance.
Illustration: Story of a city mayor in the Philippines. When his father, the vice president of the Philippines, was asked to comment about the incident, the older Binay said, “My son did not abuse his power because, as the mayor, he deserved courtesy from the guards.”
Take note of the word that he used – he said his son “deserved” to be honored. That word exhibits what is in his heart and that of his son – both of them harbored a sense of entitlement. They think they are VIPs entitled to special treatment from the guards.
David was totally different. He was humble; he submitted himself to the will of God. Consequently, he did not fear nor was he concerned about those who were slandering and destroying him. Because he trusted in God’s sovereignty, He humbly accepts what God has allowed and what God has given him.
David was able to worship the Lord despite the turmoil and troubles around because he understands that God is in control of everything. He knew that what God has planned for him will happen in due time. He knew that what God has promised him will be fulfilled.
Are you in some deep trouble today? Is someone slandering and destroying your good name? Are things happening beyond your expectation? Are the people around you advancing beyond what you think they deserve?
Remember the sovereignty of God and trust Him to do what is best and right. Stop thinking that, just because you are a child of God, you can demand anything you want from Him. Stop thinking that, just because you love and serve him, He must give you some special treatments. Stop thinking that, just because you are in the middle of his will, He should shield you from all harm.
When you do so – when you acknowledge God’s sovereignty and stop harboring a sense of entitlement – you will be able to worship the Lord regardless of your circumstances in life.
To worship God, we must give up our feeling of discontentment and recognize that God is benevolent (Verse 2)
To be able to worship God, even in bad times, we need to remember that He is good and loving … kind and generous. Because of that, we know that His plans for us are perfect and His provisions for us are timely.
After the psalmist talks of the humility in his heart in v.1, he talks of the calmness in his heart in v.2. David was calm and at peace in the eye of the storm because he understands that God is a good and loving God.
How do we know that David was thinking about God’s love and how do we know that he was contented in that love? In verse 2, he compares God to a mother and compares himself to a weaned child.
I don’t think we need to look far neither do I need to say more. In every culture and country, in every age and time, a mother is always a symbol of tender loving care; a symbol of unconditional, sacrificial and timeless love. Hence, the saying, “A mom holds her children in her hands for a while but she holds them in her heart forever.”
When David likened God to a mother, it is easy to see that he was using this to speak of God’s love and care for him. The question now is, why did David liken himself to a weaned child? Why did he not equate himself to a newborn baby or infant?
It is because a child who is not yet weaned, one who still breastfeeds, is always very demanding. He is often impatient and hard to handle. That is why people say, “Little babies have only one job and that is to rule the world.” They also say, “Babies are small enough to hold in your arms but big enough to drive you crazy.”
However, when a baby is weaned, normally between 6-12 months after birth, he is more stable and less demanding. He is more patient and more tolerant. When food is not served immediately, he would not wail as hard as a newborn baby. When he is not
attended to immediately, he would not cry as long and loud as an infant.
Just recently, I read an article that about weaned babies. According to the article written by a doctor, the following are signs that a baby is weaned:
(1) If you skip or delay a feeding, he will not fuss about it.
(2) If you shorten his feeding time, he will still smile after it.
(3) If you distract him from his demands, he will forget it.
You see, weaned babies have matured a bit and have better perception of their relationship with their mother. Though they are still babies who need feeding from mommy, they begin to see that mommy is not feeding machine but is someone who loves and cares for them. As a result, they are more at peace and less demanding.
Now we understand why David equated himself to a weaned baby. David was telling us that, since God like a mother who loves and cares unconditionally, he is at peace – contended and satisfied.
In good times and bad, let us remember that God is love and, like a mother, he cares deeply for us, and let’s be at peace all the time.
When we are terminally sick and there seems to be no cure for us, let us trust that God knows what he is doing. When business is bad and all our resources are depleted, let us trust that God will provide for us in due time. When traffic is real bad and we
are late for an important appointment, let us trust that God has something better in store for us. Even if God delays in supplying our needs, let us stay contented because we know that God loves us.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.”
Yes, our God is not just sovereign and powerful but He is full of mercy and goodness. As such, even when you are in no mood to worship Him, you must and you can. Just trust in His benevolence and put aside any bit of discontentment in your heart. Like a weaned baby, just rest in Him fully and wait for Him patiently.
To worship God, we must give up our feeling of despair and recognize that God is all-powerful (Verse 3)
If you look at our passage today you would realize that, after professing humility in verse 1 and exhibiting calmness in verse 2, David exhorts Israel to hope in God in verse 3. He exhorts them to hope in God both now and forevermore.
Illustration: Story of young boys playing baseball in an American public park. When asked if he was discouraged because they were losing the game, a boy answered, "Why should I be discouraged? We haven't been at bat yet! Just wait till it’s our turn and you will see!”
King David was able to encourage the Israelites to hope in God because he himself has great hope in his heart, just like the boy. The advancing steps of King Saul were loud and drowning. The malicious lies of his enemies were many and forceful. Danger was lurking and death was very much a possibility. But yet, with hope in his heart, he encouraged the Israelites not to faint when in trouble and not to fear when in danger.
Like the little baseball player waiting on the sideline, David has great hope – not in himself and his ability, but in his God. David knew that the God who called him is not just sovereign and loving; He is also wise and powerful. As such, his heart was full of expectations as he waits for God’s appearance and the awaited victory, in His time.
Why must we hope in God when things go wrong? Bible scholar Adam Clarke says we can put our hope in God completely at all times because “He is wise in his plans. He is good in his purposes. He is strong in his execution.”
Right now, I want you to take note of two important words that David used.
The first word is “hope” (Yachal), which means “to wait patiently and expectantly.” Instead of focusing on our circumstances and watching the clock nervously, we are to focus our attention on God, knowing He will come through. We are to wait patiently for Him knowing He will bring us through the storm and allow us to enjoy the sun and the rainbow soon.
The second word is “Lord” (Yahweh). David used that name not only because Yahweh is the only proper name of God but also because that name expresses two things about God. He is the life-giver – He can create ex-nihilo: something out of nothing, even life. He is the One who is present, accessible and near to those who call on Him.
Because of that, we can hope in Him at all times, even when nothing seems to be going right. We can hope in Him even when all our aspirations and dreams are dashed to pieces. Because God is Yahweh, the God who can give life to the lifeless and the One who is constantly with us, we can hope in Him at all times – both now and forevermore.
Conclusion
This morning, we thank God for allowing us to see that we must and can worship Him at all times. We may now be in a valley but we can worship the Lord. In closing, I would like you to spend a few moments to cast your burdens upon God and express your trust in Him.

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