psalms

In God's Time (Psalm 90)

Sermon Recap

Life gets so busy in the Bay Area that we often don’t take time to assess what it’s all for. We question what our purpose truly is, get disappointed by how mundane things are, and wonder if we’re really making any impact. This psalm challenges us to think about what it means to live faithfully in the face of the cold reality that we all one day will die.

1. Our Circumstance

Psalm 90 highlights the chasm between God and man. He is the eternal Creator and we are mortal creation. He transcends time while we are bound by it. If we are to have an honest assessment of our lives, we must first be oriented by these truths. Ultimately, death is where we all will end up which makes many of us wonder if anything we do matters.

2. Our Consequence

One of the big issues is we think death is the big problem when the real issue is sin. God’s wrath toward sin is manifested in death. Our culture tries to deal with this by either trying to excuse sin or escape it. Both attempts fail because they try to alter the character of an unchanging God to work around us. Instead, what we really need is to see what God has done about our sin.

3. Our Confidence

Thank God this psalm doesn’t end at v.12. It would be so hopeless! Instead, Moses prays that God would display his work and glorious power. He was eyewitness to it in the Exodus, which events all pointed forth to our Messiah, Jesus. In him, God accomplished his greatest work and displayed his most glorious power. By faith in him, our lives find the significance we long for and can live with the confidence we need.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. What do you think it means to live a life of significance? To have purpose in everything you do? How do you know you’re living consistently that way?

  2. Find all the ways in which this psalm highlights the differences between us and God. How do you experience these differences in your day-to-day life?

  3. What are the ways you tend to excuse away your sin or escape it? Why doesn’t it work?

  4. How does Jesus display the work and glorious power of God? How have you seen it at work in your life?

  5. What do you think v.12 means in actual practice; ”So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom?”

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Listen to God (Psalm 81)

Sermon Recap

This might be the most important psalm of the Psalter. It describes a time central to Israel’s holy calendar, sits at the center of the Psalter’s structure, and has a theme that is at the heart of Israel’s spiritual life. It gives us much to reflect on as we begin a new year.

1. God Listens to Us

Before God even calls us to listen to him, he already is listening to us. The first half of the psalm actually focuses on all the way God has listened to us and responded in kind. It reminds us that we are in relationship with the Creator of all things and that our prayers never fall on deaf ears.

2. We Must Listen to God

We have a responsibility to listen to God for our own good. Romans 10:17 reminds us that faith for us comes from hearing God’s Word. Listening and reflecting on all the ways God has delivered us and warns us of disobedience helps us to follow him in worship and faith.

3. We Don’t Listen Well

The problem with all this though is we’re not very good listeners. We’d much rather complain or listen to our counsel. Israel has countless examples of doing this and suffering the consequences of it. If we take careful stock of our lives, we can probably highlight ways we’ve done the same.

4. Jesus Listened to God

Jesus listened to the Father perfectly in his life and died our death due to our sinful disobedience. In Jesus, we don’t merely have a moral example to follow; we have a Savior who becomes the one we can be in relationship with, who listens to us and speaks to us so we might listen, learn, and live.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. Have you ever had a time where you doubted that God was even listening to you? Why? How did you handle that period of life?

  2. Do you spend as much time listening to God as you do talking to him? Is your relationship with him a two-way conversation or more one-sided? What would it look like for it to be more balanced?

  3. Are you more prone to complaint or following your own counsel? Have there been times where you’ve seen that hurt you more than help?

  4. How does Jesus help us listen to God the way God desires? How might you grow in listening to God in 2019?

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Christ Our Priest (Psalm 110)

Sermon Recap

The concept of a priest has changed a lot in today’s culture. Most people learn about what they do from movies and television rather than actual experience. It’s even odder to envision the role of priests in the Old Testament. Our psalm today is a Davidic song that foreshadowed a priest nobody in Israel’s context could comprehend but would become our Messiah, Jesus Christ.

1. We All Need a Priest

Christmas is a time of year where the holiday messages conflict with struggles that fill many of our hearts. To deal with this dissonance, many of us look to secular priests to intercede for us. For some, it’s the bartender, for others, it’s the yoga instructor, for others, it’s our own children. King David recognized his need for a priest, different and greater than the ones that existed in his day.

2. We All Need a Perfect Priest

The problem is most of the secular priests we seek out aren’t perfect enough for us. They can never truly satisfy our need for meaning, hope, and purpose. David sensed this in his own life. This is why he prayed for a priest in the order of Melchizedek, one who would also be a king who would eternally mediate for his people.

3. We Need Jesus Our Priest

Jesus fulfills David’s prophecy in our psalm. He is able to be our perfect priest because he is without sin, with no beginning nor end, eternally interceding for us at the right hand of God. He is the only priest who became the perfect sacrifice for us. This is why he satisfies the longing of our hearts to find peace for our anxieties, hope in our difficulties, and joy in our sadness.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. When you think of a priest today, what do you think of? How different is that from the image of the Old Testament priest?

  2. Who are your secular priests? Who do you search out and go to when you feel guilty, sad, or broken? Who do you go to in order to find comfort and peace?

  3. Why do secular priests fail us? Why can they never truly fulfill what we need them to do?

  4. Why does it matter that Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek rather than the normal Old Testament priests we read about? What differences are there?

  5. Why do we need Christ to be our priest? How different are our lives when we look to him to intercede?

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