“G R E A T !” (Psalm 48)
FBC Earlville 11-13–16 10:30 AM Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S FUNNY “Stranger Danger” A little girl was walking home from school one day when a big man on a black motorcycle pulls up besides her.
After following along for a while, he turns to her and asks, “Hey there little girl, do you want to go for a ride?” “NO!” says the little girl as she keeps on walking.
The motorcyclist again pulls up beside her and asks, “Hey little girl, I will give you $10 if you hop on the back.” “NO!” says the little girl again as she hurries down the street.
The motorcyclist pulls up beside her a third time and says, “Okay kid, my last offer! I’ll give you 20 Bucks and a big bag of candy if you hop on the back of my bike.”
Finally, the little girl stops and turns toward him and screams out…”Look Dad, you’re the one who bought the Honda instead of the Harley…YOU RIDE IT!!”
INTRODUCTION: As we have been studying the psalms written by the godly sons of Korah, you may remember that last week’s word was “awesome”. There is only One Who can be described as “awesome” – that would be God Himself and His character. Today we are going to learn an old but familiar term – one which again we perhaps use for many things, but not exclusively for God alone. PRAYER
WHAT MAKES GOD SPECIAL? (vs. 1-3)
a. This is a “Theo-centric” psalm! This is God-centered because…He is GREAT! It is hard to come up with an alternative version to better describe the word “great”. Listen to two: “God majestic, praise abounds in our God-city!” (The Message); “How great is the Lord! How much we should praise him.” (The Living Bible)
b. How great? 863 times in the Bible a form of “great” is used! 44 in Genesis. 50 in Jeremiah. 47 in Revelation.
The uses in each of these books reflect the themes of these books. Genesis is the book of beginnings, so the first use of “great” in Scripture is in 1:16: “God made two great lights (one to rule the day, one to rule the night)”. Jeremiah is the book of God’s wrath toward those both in and out of Israel Who oppose His Lordship; therefore note 2:12: “shudder with great horror” at the wrath God will bring upon His own people for forsaking Him. And of course, Revelation is the book of the end of days, so when John saw the depth of the worldwide opposition to God, he could only utter in 17:6, the last use of “great” in Scripture, “I was greatly astonished.” And perhaps so should we be.
c. And note WHERE God is special in the verses in Psalm 48: in Israel, and in particular, in Jerusalem! Note v. 3, that God will be “her fortress”. She seems vulnerable now – but one day the world better look out when the Lord, like a mother hen, takes care of her own. Turn to Matt. 23:37 to see Jesus’ heart, and their rejection. John 1:11 He came unto His own, but His own received Him not – but…[note v. 12!] as many as received Him, to them gave He the authority to become children of God”! And note Rev. 19:16 when the whole world will acknowledge Jesus as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
He is GREAT!
2. WHO DOES GOD PROTECT? (vs. 4-7)
a. Note that Zion’s defense is not her mountains (which were many), nor her location, nor her army, but the Lord Himself!
b. The Bible is its best interpreter. Most scholars believe the event(s) which prompted these words is the invasion of Jerusalem by the king of Assyria when Hezekiah was king. Look at Isaiah 36:1, 4-7. The TRUE God caused worship and holiness which was as well True! Note v. 15 – the false worshippers don’t understand true worship. That was true then; that was true now. Stay true to the true God! God protects His own!
c. Note one of the classiest verses in all of Scripture: Isaiah 37:14. As Hezekiah spread his concerns out before the One Who alone could answer them – why can’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we be doing the same?
3. HOW DO WE ADORE SUCH A GREAT GOD? (i.e., how do I make this psalm personal?) (vs. 8-11)
v. 8: our Biblical Christianity should be personally experienced! (“we heard it, now we’ve seen it for ourselves!”)
v. 9: we meditate on God’s unfailing love. “meditate” = literally, “chew the cud”! We digest it over and over until it becomes a part of our system, our nature, to worship God without hesitation!
v. 10: praise and righteousness – both God’s and ours – should be far reaching!
v. 11: are you glad at God’s righteousness?
ILLUSTRATION: the recent elections created of all things a weeping loser and a rioting nation. There is no sense of surrender to God’s righteousness, to His authority and His purposefully placed authority! When a nation doesn’t so surrender, what is left is UN-righteousness!
CONCLUSION: What do we do with our knowledge that God is great?
#1 Look at v. 13: you tell the next generation!
#2 Look at v. 14: not everyone who says “this God” can say “our God” – for the GREAT God is personal.
Is He personal to you? Does your daily life show the eternal personableness of our Great God?
Close in prayer