THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF THE MIGHTY GOD – 21 Aug 2004

Ps 19:1-7 (Heb)  To the Chief Musician; a Psalm of David:  The heavens declare the glory of [the Mighty] God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.  Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night stores up knowledge.  There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.  Their line has gone out through all the Earth and their words to the end of the habitable world.  In them He has set a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his wedding canopy, rejoicing like a hero to run his race.  Its rising is from one end of Heaven, and its circuit period to the other end; and nothing is hidden from its heat.

This last Tuesday evening Evan and I went to the planetarium in Givata’im.  It is the center for the Israel Astronomy Association, and is the only one in the country open to the public.  It is interesting to learn about and to observe something “up there” in outer space – what we might call the second heaven.  God the Father and the Son are on the Throne above them (Eph 1:20-21).  The woman who presented the show explained the stars and the constellations that are visible now in the sky.  The only problem was that all of her explanations, which excited her very much, come from pagan mythology.  Whatever elements of truth may be in them are to are to be recognized as distortions and perversions of the true meaning which comes from the Creator Himself – YHVH God of Israel!  This woman gave honor not to the God of Truth, but to the god of this world and age who wants to be worshipped as God.  There is a Buddhist symbol of a serpent encircling the planet, and the Greek legend making the serpent a symbol for healing and life from the dead.

1Jn 5:19; Eph 2:2; 2Cor 4:3-6  We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one. . ., the prince of the power of the air.    But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Messiah, who is the image of God, should shine on them.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. . . .For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

We do not honor God through this world’s wisdom, but rather, as little children or even as fools in the world’s estimation, through accepting what is written in His Word (1Cor 3:18-20; 4:6,10)Let’s consider just a few things in which the heavens tell of the glory of the Mighty God:

Gen 1:14  lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and to be for signs and seasons, and for days and years
     –size:  so big that no one can measure (Jer 31:37)
     –beauty: God is the penultimate artist. . .clouds of all shapes and imagination
     –order and regularity:  day and night; moon and sun for days, weeks, months, calendars (Jer 31:35-36; 33:25-27)
     –perfect proportion of size and distance: Architect, design; eclipses of sun and of moon; heat and cold
     –mystery:  How can it be?!; full of wonder as we look, for instance, at the photos of Saturn

Gen 9:12-17; Ezek 1:28; Rev 4:3  the rainbow as a sign of God’s glory
Ps 19:3-5 (Heb)  stories and legends around the world in all cultures
      –God knows all the stars by name! (Ps 147:4)
      –God portioned them out to all the peoples under the heavens, but we are to serve and worship Him (Dt 4:19-20), the Creator of the stars, moon, host of heaven, and He is our Savior.
      –God told Abraham that just as the multitude of the stars, so would be his descendants (Gen 15:5)

Ps 19: 6-7 (Heb)  sun like a bridegroom coming out of its bridal chamber, and serving Earth
     –Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings
     –Jesus came out of His chamber—and will come again!—for His Bride, and He still serves us more than we serve Him

sunsets – red;death of Messiah Jesus; sunrises – yellow, bright; light of new day; resurrection of Jesus

Mt 2:1-2, 9-10  unique star led “wise” men to Jesus, born to be King of the Jews (star out of Jacob – Num 24:17)
     –a sign which makes modern astrologers false prophets

Hab 2:14; 1Cor 15:28; Rev 21:22-23  the present creation will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of YHVH; the new Heavens and new Earth will be filled with the glory of God; He will be the light and we will all be filled with his glory and love

Jn 5:44-47  believing what Moses wrote about the beginning will help us to believe in Jesus, and also in what He says about things of the end

Ps 8:4-5 (Heb)  Your heavens, work of Your fingers. . .You have ordained. What is mortal man. . . !
   –who are we to change the Word of God into the words of mere men?!
   –Jesus came as the Son of Man that we could become sons of the Living God

Great is YHVH and worthy to be praised!  Give glory and honor to YHVH God, Maker of Heaven and Earth!  Amen.

HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH – 6 Aug 2004

Is 53:7  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, but He opened not His mouth; as a lamb to the slaughter He was led, and as a ewe before her shearers is silent, and He opened not His mouth.

1Cor 11:26  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Jesus identifies with us as human beings.  God was manifested in the flesh.  He identifies with us in our sinful condition in that He was baptized, signifying that we need to be cleansed, purified – even dead – to rid ourselves of sin and to receive a new life unto righteousness.

We know through faith that Jesus is our Passover Lamb, whose blood delivers us from the wrath and judgment of God; Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world to make way for the Kingdom of God on Earth as in Heaven; Jesus is the Lamb upon the Throne in Heaven, ruling over all creation.  In all these, we see Jesus set apart, holy-holy-holy, high and exalted!

But in Isaiah 53, our great God and Savior is described as being like a lamb and like a ewe (a female sheep).  A lamb or sheep has no special strength or power; no special honor; is not very smart;  even smells bad!  We think of sheep as innocent and cute that do not intentionally cause trouble.  But because of their dependency upon a “caretaker”, they do require a lot of tending. The only thing a living sheep has to give its owner is its wool once a year.   Normal sheep like to be with a flock or a group of three or more (gregarious).  They have a high degree of independence at birth (precocial), meaning that they can stand on their feet shortly after birth.  Sheep are defenseless against predators like wolves, or against human accusers wanting to destroy them, or to scatter them from the flock and their shepherd.

Like a lamb or a ewe, Jesus did not open His mouth in complaint or in rebellion – not against Caiphas the High Priest, not against Pilate nor Herod, not against Judas His betrayer nor against those who struck Him, spit on Him, scorned Him.  When the time had come to go to the cross because of your sin and mine, Jesus accepted this from God His Father, knowing that the price for our salvation was not only His sacrificial death by crucifixion, but also by bearing the full wrath and judgment from God for taking our place for sin.  He tasted death and its darkness, separated from God who is Light.  He identified with us even while we were His enemies and the cause of His suffering!  We see and feel in our own spirits with the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – that Jesus never regretted what He came to do, even though He felt the enormity of the price upon His soul even while in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Yet He did not open His mouth to defend His innocence or His righteousness or to complain about such “unfair” treatment, whether by man, the devil, or God.

Jesus was completely submitted to do the will of His Father.  The triune God determined this Way before the foundation of the world.

Jesus was completely under control, emotionally and mentally.  God, who knows the heart, completely vindicated Jesus by His resurrection from the dead.

Jesus was completely certain of the glory of God and His on the other side of the pain and shame of the cross.   He knew, too, that you and I would be part of the harvest of His sowing the labor of His soul unto death, and He is satisfied!

Jesus is the scapegoat for the world’s troubles and mankind’s problems.  We were in agreement with those who accused Him falsely until the Holy Spirit convicted us of our sin and rebellion against love and righteousness and truth. . .against God our Creator and Redeemer.  And He opened not His mouth.

As we take the Lord’s Supper together, let us examine and judge ourselves as to our own personality and character, and, with the holy choir around the Throne, sing a new song with our lives.  (Rev 5:9-14)  Amen!