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Great Reward

Sermon Date:August 20, 2017

Sermon Series:

Sermon Topics:Psalm 19:7-11

Author:Allen Burns

Scripture Reading: Psalm 19:7-11 Sermon Title: Great Reward Sermon Text: Psalm 19:7-11 Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 MAIN IDEA: Keep God’s Word and find great reward.   NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." This manuscript is provided as a courtesy and is not intended for publication. The audio and video message differs from the manuscript. Thanks for understanding.  

What We Want

People are the same across the world. We all want to be happy. Everyone wants joy, fulfillment, and success in life. Everybody desires to be useful and for their life to be meaningful. We have yet to meet somebody who says that their life ambition is to be a miserable failure. What does the human success story look like? To some, the story looks like strength and agility. Others place value on kindness, intelligence, or being attractive and popular. When people feel valued, they enjoy the sense of achievement. They are happy and joyful because they have many friends. They celebrate because they are champions at sports. They feel complete because they achieve recognition for their academic achievements or their business success. There are different ways to get there, but the goal is the same. We all naturally seek happiness, fulfillment, and joy. Most of us work at a job as a means to arrive at our goal. Often, long hours are required and sometimes in unpleasant grueling circumstances. A few times, the joy is just getting done work. The purpose of work is the paycheck, and the paycheck buys the stuff which brings happiness. Happiness may be a pizza on Friday or a new boat next summer to get away from people. The paycheck might be put towards the purchase of a fancy hot-rod because guys like the feeling of having the coolest and fastest car on the road. Women might go to the beauty parlor and “get the works” because they enjoy being pampered and the compliments of looking nice for their husband. As they say, there are different strokes for different folks. There are other ways to find joy which don’t involve working at a job. For example, we might pursue learning. Everyone enjoys being the only person knowing the answer to a question and impressing people. We find pleasure in taking a test or exam and doing well. Some people enjoy memorizing and reciting state capitals. Others find joy in solving complex math equations or diagnosing the strange noise the car makes. When we don’t know the answer, and everyone else does, we are frustrated or annoyed, and it makes for an unhappy situation. The world knows about our search for joy and happiness and advertisements offer thousands of ways for us to achieve our goal. “Are you unhappy with your internet connection?” “Isn’t it time to upgrade that old cell phone so you can have the best?” “Did you lose out on getting that girl because of your dandruff?” “Having trouble sleeping at night?” “Are your children unhappy? Buy them a ‘happy meal’!” Christian organizations also get in on the action. “Trouble with money? Manage your finances the Biblical way.” “Is your marriage in trouble? Come to our weekend marriage retreat and learn how God wants you to have a happy marriage.” Nobody enjoys grief or sorrow. Nobody finds pleasure in illness, injury, times of frustration, or failure. When we are on track to happiness and see a roadblock, we immediately try to control situations and manipulate people. Stop the train! Everybody needs to look and see there is a problem. That roadblock is on the way to my happiness, and everybody needs to help get this thing out of the way. Stop what you are doing. Help me fix this problem. We live with the mindset that we have a goal of ultimate happiness, and nothing better get in our way. We are blind to the truth that the biggest obstacle standing in the way to our happiness is us. We lack the skills and abilities. We are not strong enough. We are emotionally unstable. We lack the insight and wisdom to know what will make us truly happy. The reason for our falling short of getting our joy is simple. We have a fallen nature. We cannot make ourselves happy. To make up for our lack of ability, we cut corners. We sin. We take what is not ours rather than be satisfied with what we have. We make others feel bad so that we will feel good. At a young age, we tell lies to avoid unpleasant punishment. Our deceiving doesn’t stop because we get older. Chances are that this week, to avoid looking bad to others, we all lied to make ourselves look better. The fish was a few inches longer than it really was. We have a plan. Church, marriage, jobs, having children, houses, cars, hobbies, and friends are all part of our big plan to be happy. “Hey, high-school student, what is your plan after graduation?” “I am going to be happy doing nothing all summer. I am going to college, get educated, get a high-paying job, find a wife, have kids, get a boat, and retire.” “Sounds like you will be happy.” This morning, we all woke up hoping to achieve happiness or do something to help us progress closer to that goal.

From the Universe to the Word

Here is where the Psalm informs our thinking. We already looked at verses 1-6 two weeks ago. Let’s look again at verses 7-9 and make a few observations.
  • The Psalm shifts from speaking about celestial bodies, the heavens, and the sun, to speaking about God’s Word. The heavens are God’s general revelation of Himself in Creation, and the Scripture is God’s very specific revelation about Himself in written form. In the Bible, we learn of God’s character, likes, dislikes, and plans.
  • This section of the Psalm names God as Lord. Verse one speaks of God, but six times in verses 7-9 He is Lord. It is the Lord’s Law, Lord’s testimony, Lord’s commands, and so forth.
  • The Psalm talks about every aspect of the Lord’s Holy Scriptures; His Law, testimony, precepts, commands, and judgments. The Psalm refers to the Pentateuch; precepts and commands we are to obey, the Lord’s testimony of what is going on with His plan and purposes and how we to view life, and His moral judgments of what is good and evil.
  • When speaking about the Scripture, the psalmist remarks upon the virtues of God’s revelation. He calls Scripture perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true.
  • The heavens speak and the Scripture proclaims words. Both are pouring forth speech telling us about God.
  • The heavens are distant. But, the Scripture touches us intimately. Scripture touches our soul, mind, heart, and eyes. The Psalm moves from speaking of an impersonal universe to the very personal Word of God.

Outrageous Claims

After making these observations, let us now see how the Psalm addresses our needs. The Psalm claims that Word of the Lord restores our soul, makes us wise, makes our heart rejoice, and opens our eyes. The Lord’s Word positively affects every aspect of our person. It takes our broken soul and makes it whole. It takes our simple mind and makes it wise. Our broken heart rejoices and is made glad because of the Lord’s precepts. The commands of the Lord give discernment, opening our eyes so that we may view the world around us with the right perspective. Because the Word opens our eyes, we have a fear of the Lord, and we see His judgments of what is good and evil are right. We concur that there is no fault with God’s moral decisions. What else touches our person in such a comprehensive manner and makes us whole?  Tell me, what other person or thing makes such remarkable, outrageous claims? Will our job restore our soul? Does everyone who attends a university become wise? Will a new car or boat guarantee our heart will rejoice? The Creator of the stars, moon and the sun claims His Word will do all these things. Or, God is a liar. Think about that for a bit. We should not be surprised of the Psalm claiming such wonderful effect in our life. Scripture testifies to the goodness of God’s Word upon mankind. Those who meditate on Scripture are like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever they do, they prosper (Ps. 1:3). All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) The Psalm proclaims that the Lord’s Word comprehensively restores our soul, heart, and mind and that it opens our eyes to fear God giving us eternal life.

The Word is worth pursuing above all things

If we are to think about our plans for complete joy, obviously, the Word of God needs to be part of our plans. The Psalm fittingly ends this section with that in mind. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. (Ps. 19:10) God’s Word promises comprehensive transformation in our lives. It is worthy of our desire. Gold is nice to have. It can buy a lot of stuff. Everyone puts up with a lot of heartaches because they desire gold. We tell our children to study hard, get a good job, and that way they will get a lot of gold. We encourage one another to seek gold, yes, even fine gold. People lie, cheat, and murder because they desire gold. The Lord’s Word is more desirable than the finest of gold. In the Bible times, honey is a luxury for the table. Eating bread and butter is good. But, eating bread and butter with honey is better. Honey makes a meal sumptuous, lavish, and luxurious. Honey is considered one of the finer things in life. As far as sweetness goes, honey is at the top of the sweetness index for natural products. The Lord’s Word is sweeter than honey. We sit at a luxurious table when we speak the Word during mealtime. Gold buys things, and honey makes the occasion delightful. God’s Word does more than both. If our biggest desire is gold and having honey on the table, we are making a monumental, grave error. Scripture transforms our fallen nature by restoring our soul, making us wise, making our heart rejoice, and opens our eyes so we may see rightly. God’s Word is worth pursuing above all things.

Moreover …

Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them, there is great reward. (Ps. 19:11) Again, let’s make some observations.
  • Moreover, means that there is one more thing to add which is the promise of a great reward. If we keep the precepts, law, and commandments of God’s Word we may expect reward. It is not just a reward, but a great When we think of the vastness of the universe and that the reward is from the same Creator, we know great means GREAT.
  • The psalmist provides a warning which implies that if the Word of God is not kept, there is a consequence. We may be certain there is no reward.
  • The word servant is perhaps the most important word for us to understand how to apply this passage to our lives. The law is the Lord’s law. The commands are the Lord’s commands. The Word is the Lord’s Word and those who keep it are His servants. The word servant establishes the relationship between the Word Giver and the Word keepers. The Lord is the Master. He gives His Word to the servant, and the servant keeps the Word. If the servant keeps the Word, the Lord grants a great reward to the servant.
Let’s zoom out and examine what we have looked at thus far with the Psalm. The universe is God’s handiwork. The glory of God pours forth day after day like speech, and it reaches from one end to the other. Nothing escapes the presence of God’s glory. In other words, because of the heavens, we know there is a God. The heavens reveal God is all-powerful, all-wise, and sovereign over all things. As we look at the revelation of God’s glory, we are to be humbled. It is designed to bring fear and trembling. The same Creator gives us His Holy Word. His Word transforms our fallen nature and makes us useful. The Word which God speaks restores our soul, opens our eyes, our simple mind becomes wise, and rejoicing fills our heart. We are to desire the Word above all things. We are servants of the Lord, keeping His Word, looking forward to the hope of great reward.

Application

There is a reason God sends forth His Word. God tells us that His Word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes His will and brings forth fruit wherever it is sent (Is. 55:11). God gives us the Word of God to transform us to make us useful for His purposes; which is to fulfill His will. The Lord does not give His Word so we may accomplish our purposes. The Word makes us useful servants accomplishing God’s purpose. Let’s say this another way. In our pursuit of joy, we are not to use the Word of God as a book of formulas to make our plans work. Let’s think of some examples. The kids are brats. That makes us unhappy, so we turn to the Bible to find a fix. We have problems at work which make us upset, so we look for verses about work to help us solve our work problem. Our marriage is not as pleasant as it used to be, so we attend a marriage seminar so we learn what the Bible says about marriage so that we may go on our merry little way. Problem solved. Thank-you Bible. God is good. Now, back to our plans. The problem is not our marriage, children, finances, job, or whatever. What we need to ask ourselves is, am I a servant of the Lord? Are we turning to the Word of God to receive instruction on how to make our plans work, or are we turning to the Word of God to see how we are to break our plans and be a servant fulfilling the Lord’s purposes and plan? Yes, God’s plan is for us to have a godly family and be godly at work (and so forth), but all those things are so we reflect Christ. God’s plan is to make much of Christ. God is glorifying His Son, and this is our purpose in life. Our salvation reveals the riches of Christ’s mercy and grace. It reveals that in Christ we find our treasure. Everlasting life is in Christ. At His right hand are pleasures forevermore. Servants don’t comb through work instructions and only do those things they like doing. They keep all the instructions the Master gives them. Who are we to think we may do as we wish with the commands written by the Creator of the sun and the stars? Who are we to think that the Lord of the pulsars will allow us to rebel and transgress His commands? We need to realize that most our thinking and effort is centered on our plans and not seeking to accomplish God’s plans. We are to let the sun wake us up in the morning. Allow its heat to remind us of God’s glory. Under the rays of the suns mighty strength and power, with fear and trembling, we are reminded that we are mere men and women. We fade like grass. We are very small, so we are to be humble. God is Lord. He is a powerful master. We are to be His humble servant. The Master gives instruction, and we are to read and keep His instruction. Sin and rebellion are forbidden. Be holy. Submit to the Word of God.

But how?

Prayer

God commands us to pray. Let’s stop praying for God to bless our plans, but rather, pray we may know and do God’s plans. The Bible instructs us to pray and ask that we may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of Him (Col. 1:9-10).

Study

Study to show ourselves approved unto God. Read the commands, precepts, statutes, judgments and keep them. Get a notebook and make a list of what God desires from you as His servant. We already know many of the commands. Love God and love others. Be forgiving. Be thankful. Be merciful. Be ambassadors for Christ with the proclamation of the Gospel. Studying God’s Word is not easy. Stop looking at the commentaries and trying to figure out who makes the best sense. Learn to read the Bible firsthand. Sometimes, it is easier to read books written by others about God’s Word. Sometimes it is easier to listen to others who talk about God’s Word. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t take the easy way out.

Know the Bible Equips

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) The same Bible which commands us to obey and keep God’s commands equips us to be able to do all which God asks.

Believe in the warning.

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.  For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ec. 12:13-14) As God’s servants, we are warned. Fear God, keep His commandments. Don’t keep half of God’s commands. Don’t keep them half-heartedly. Don’t keep them with half-effort. Jesus says if you love Him, you will keep His commandments. Therefore, we are to love Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

 Believe in great reward

God promises great reward. The question is, do we believe Him? God clearly teaches His Word is what we need more than anything else. If we believe that, we will earnestly read His Word. Believing in God as the rewarder is the essence of our faith. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (He. 11:6). God delights in proving His Word. Do we delight in believing?