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God brings joy! – Psalm 30

God brings joy! – Psalm 30
By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 13, 2017

George Weiss and Robert Thiele wrote the lyrics: “I see trees of green, red roses too; I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself what a wonderful world.” It’s a song everyone knows because it has been used over and over again in different movies. And it was made famous by the Jazz singer and musician Louis Armstrong in 1967. It goes on to say, “I see skies of blue and clouds of white; the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I think to myself what a wonderful world. The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky are also on the faces of people going by. I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do, they’re really saying I love you. I hear babies crying, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more than I’ll never know. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.” The song hits home because it speaks of the wonder of the world, God’s creation, and the joy that it all brings.

While happiness is a momentary thing in life — more than a room without a roof or simply being the truth — joy is an inner quality of life. Far too often folks confuse joy with momentary happiness and when the clapping stops they then struggle to maintain their happiness. The Psalmist David sings to us what joy is and where it is found; let’s discover what he wrote about the fact that God brings joy…

READ: Psalm 30

What could be more joyous than dedicating a new building for the Lord? I remember years ago we decided to rededicate this old wooden building to God and we walked around it, prayed, and praised God for it. We did this because of what God had done through us as a church in paying off our loan. We learn from David that…

I. God brings joy when we remember what he saved us from! (Vv. 1-3)

I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.

1. David immediately sings “I will exalt you, O LORD” meaning that he will lift up God’s name to anyone who would listen. Lifting up the name of the Lord should be a common practice for the child of God. I know I remember my parents and how they raised me, then should we not therefore remember our Heavenly Father and how he too has raised us up as well? In fact notice that David sings “for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me”! We far too often get comfortable in our walk with the Lord and begin to forget just what we were pulled out of and saved from. For too many it is more of a stroll with God like being pushed in a baby stroller because we never learn to actually walk with him but rather like spiritual infants we just lay back and try to enjoy the ride! But David remembers what God pulled him out of: “the depths” and from his “enemies”! Now you may not think you have very many enemies because for your way of thinking the word “enemy” denotes someone who seeks to destroy you like North Korea or something. But remember Peter wrote that “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) and Jesus referred to the Devil as our “enemy” who sows seeds of weeds among the wheat. (Matthew 13:39) The world is full of the Enemy’s wisdom, wiles, and wit. He seeks to destroy you and to take away your joy in the Lord. Yet David knew where he could immediately turn to: “O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” It is God alone who heals us through Jesus! In fact it is God in Jesus that “brought me up from the grave” and “spared me from going down into the pit”! Never forget that it is Jesus who brings true joy because of what he brought you out of! God brings joy when we remember what he saved us from!

EXAMPLE: I will never forget being out on the jetty at Ilwaco, Washington as a young boy fishing with my brother-in-law. He warned us not to go out to the end of the jetty and to always keep our eyes on the ocean for “sneaker waves”. And of course being a ten-year-old boy I knew what I was doing and did not listen to a single word he said. I climbed out to the end of the jetty and neglected to watch the ocean. A huge wave washed over me engulfing me. I grabbed a hold of a boulder as I was being swept out to sea. I was completely frightened and then these hands reached down and dragged me out of the swirling waters and pulled me to safety. It was my brother-in-law. I never forgot from that day on to watch the ocean no matter how calm it looks because I never forgot what I was saved from. God brings joy when we remember what he saved us from!

When I am saddened by what life throws my way I know I can go to my sweet little wife and she will gently kick me in the pants and say, “Straighten up! It only lasts a moment!” She has a deft way of helping me to remember that while my happiness may be fleeting, God’s joy is lasting no matter what the circumstance. David reminds us that…

II. God brings joy that lasts! (Vv. 4-7)

Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.

1. Whether it is a good root beer drinking song or a rousing traveling song sung at the top of everyone’s lungs in the car while traveling to some vacation destination it is always good to have others join in and sing with you. This is why singing in church, whether you can sing or not, is so important. It creates intimate spiritual fellowship with one another and with the Lord who you are there to worship. Over and over we are reminded in Scripture to “sing to the Lord”! This is why David tells his listeners to “Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name.” I am baffled when Christians do not sing to the Lord. Is life so horrible you do not have a song to sing to God? I sing to the Lord all the time. Ask my wife. It doesn’t have to be hymns or just Christian contemporary radio tunes because God is also pleased when you simply make music to him from the inner joy in your heart that overflows to him! Why would David want others to join him? Because he knew God’s “anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime”! And shouldn’t believers sing all the more loudly because we have the everlasting joy of Jesus? (You betcha by golly Mr. and Mrs. Saddiface.) In fact David gives us one of the most endearing stanzas in the entire Bible when he eloquently reminds us that “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning”! The sadness of sin’s darkness lasts only a short while but the enduring joy of the Lord comes at the break of a new day and lasts forever! WOW! David knew that in a world where anything could happen to anyone at anytime and living in a world of sifting sand that “When I felt secure, I said, ‘I will never be shaken.’” He understood that God was his secure foundation, his rock of ages, and his steadfast mountain: “O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm”! As life went well David knew God was there but he also knew that when things went pickle barrel in life; when God “hid” his “face” and he “was dismayed” God was there as well. David could trust in God and he knew where his joy came from! God brings joy that lasts!

EXAMPLE: People love those dollar stores where supposedly everything within them only costs a dollar. When I was a kid they were known as the 88 Cent Store or the 99 Cent Store or Woolworth’s! Anyway these places are filled with all kinds of junk that only lasts for a little while because that is how it is made so you will come back and by more junk, right? Yet I can remember being a little kid and being given a quarter, which was a lot of money way back during the dinosaurs, and going into the store to buy something. I would take my time to make sure that what I bought was exactly what I wanted and that I could play with it for a while. I remember buying a wind-up car for ten cents that lasted only a day and it broke. I cried. As I wailed away my dad patted my shoulder and in his great fatherly wisdom said, “What do you expect? It was only a dime!?” I am so glad that David reminds us that God brings joy that lasts!

I have often reminded you that all the material things you now hold dear now will be sold at garage sales, given to the Salvation Army, tossed in the trash, or placed in someone else’s storage shed until they have to get rid of it. And here in this Psalm of David we are reminded that it isn’t things that bring us true joy but rather…

III. God brings joy when we remember him! (Vv. 8-12)

To you, O LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

1. All through this Psalm David’s focus is on the Lord and again he sings to remind us that “To you, O LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy”. It is only God who can give us mercy when we sin. It is because of his wonderful love that he came as Jesus that we could have eternal life in him. The Apostle Paul would later remind us that “we were by nature objects of wrath… But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:3-5 NIV) David in his honest singing to the Lord asks God, “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?” David is asking honest questions that many have asked of God; basically “Why would you do this to me? How can I worship you through this hardship?” Like the rest of us while David knew God loved and cared for him, he sometimes struggled that God would punish him or would allow bad things happen to him. You know, “why do bad things happen to good people?” Eliphaz the Temanite in the Book of Job asked Job, “Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise man benefit him?” (Job 22:2 NIV) Of course he was making the case that God did not need anyone even Job and wanted Job to repent of any sin he might have forgotten. Yet we all ask this of God at some point in our lives. We forget that life is tainted by sin. All creation is. Bad things will happen to good people until we see Jesus face-to-face! Paul would ask, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” and then he would remind his readers that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God in Jesus! (Romans 8:31, 35 NIV) David knew this as well and this is why he also continued to sing, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.” David remembered that while we may waver in our faith God never wavers in his love for us and so he finishes his song by singing, “O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.” God brings joy when we remember him!

EXAMPLE: Happiness is fleeting but real joy is learned in life. Joy can be hard work. Too many think that once they are married then everything will be sweet singing birdies and rose petal strewn paths. Anyone who has been married for more than a couple of years will tell you it is a lot of hard work, consistency, love and forgiveness. It is a lifetime commitment and not a momentary made for TV moment. I knew this startling fact for the first time when the sweet darling girl I married put her hands on her hips and demanded I begin to “use the clothes hamper instead of the floor” for my dirty clothes and that I should actually “rinse” my “dishes and put them in the sink” instead of “leaving them for” her “to pick up”. Then I learned that I could not “fix” her moods by simply doing something, I had to actually listen and let her work it out as I supported her. Was it tough for a bachelor to learn? Yep. And there were times when I wondered what I had gotten myself into just as she did as well. But the true joy of marriage took hold when I realized we were both in it for the long haul as partners, lovers, and friends. David teaches us this about God in this Psalm as well. Happiness is fleeting but God brings joy when we remember him!

Conclusion:
God brings joy when we remember what he saved us from! God brings joy that lasts! God brings joy when we remember him!
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This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Luke 19:28-44 – Palm Sunday

Luke 19:28-44 – Palm Sunday
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 29, 2015 AM

I was wondering what you thought about peace. You know what I mean, not the peace the world tries to aspire to because that is impossible. I am referring to the peace that passes all understanding that only comes from intimately knowing the ruler of peace. Perhaps you have realized peace does not come from people, places or things. Education, money, or power cannot give you the peace you need or seek. Only the one who died for you can give you peace when all else in life falters, fails, or falls apart. The absence of war, strife, or personal hurt is not the peace He gives. His peace comes by the sword of His truth that pierces the human soul right down to the spiritual bone marrow.

The Jews of Jesus’ day were searching for a worldly peace, a solution to their national and personal problems. Just like much of the world today. They had not learned from their history that going to war, throwing out the oppressor, or striving to have it all does not bring the peace God desires. Many were of the same mindset as Judas, who betrays Jesus, and desired a manmade answer to their problems. Some saw or heard what Jesus had done at the tomb of Lazarus; certainly He had to be the one who could throw out the Romans and establish the governmental utopia they desired. To show their acceptance of this idea they welcomed Jesus by throwing their cloaks and palm branches on the road, recognizing Him as their king. Let’s discover anew what happened on that Palm Sunday…

READ: Luke 19:29-44

Goals in life are important, if you do not have goals you will never achieve in life what you may expect or what God desires. Jesus was reaching the goal of His life. What would become known as Palm Sunday in the high-church arena, we see as His triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the last time. The world and its allies do not see this as much of an accomplishment, yet here…

I. We find Jesus making the proper preparations! (Vv. 29-35)

As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'” Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.

1. Jesus had just given the crowd a parable concerning the fact that the kingdom of God had already come, but the ones He had chosen to take care of it, share it with the world, and invest their lives in it had done a pretty poor job. And now the one who would bring about the fulfillment of the kingdom was coming into the city of His temple, “he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.” However, as “he approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the hill called the Mount of Olives” we discover “he sent two of his disciples” on a particular mission. Interestingly, Jesus gives them very specific instructions. He tells them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’” The wording for “Lord” some think simply means “master” as in Rabbi, while others see it as the folks already knew who Jesus was. It could be that Jesus had planned this with the owner, but I believe it is another example of His knowing what God desired of Him. God knew the colt would be there and probably had prepared the owner that Jesus would require it. In fact, Matthew relates that they would “find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.” (Matthew 21:2 NIV) Luke tells us that, “Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’” I find this both fascinating and comforting. It teaches us that when God makes plans His preparations are always perfect! We learn that, “They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.” We find Jesus making the proper preparations!

EXAMPLE: Proper preparation in life is very important, but far too many neglect doing so. Whenever we find God active in our lives, it is always because of our willingness to prepare ourselves for His purpose. Preparation comes from our willingness to listen and immediately obey. The disciples did not argue with Jesus about who owned the colt, where it was tied up, or why they were chosen to do the task. Far too often, we want to make demands of God and then argue with Him when He asks us to do something for Him. We need to be ready and willing, because God is always able to make the proper preparations when we are willing to obey!

People get excited about a lot of different things in life. We get excited naturally over the birth of a child, puppies, and the latest YouTube video. We find folks getting all shook up over media and movie stars as well. Isn’t it interesting that on this particular Palm Sunday…

II. We find the crowd getting carried away! (Vv. 36-40)

As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

1. Matthew’s gospel relates that, “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” (Matthew 21:8 NIV) Can you imagine folks using their best garments so Jesus’ donkey could step on them? Would you be willing to throw your Sunday best on the road for the Lord to step on? This is exactly what these folks did. Luke writes that, “As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.” Wow, can you imagine what a scene that would have been! “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen.” What miracles was Luke referring? John tells us that, “Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that He had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet Him.” (John 12:17-18 NIV) They knew that only the Messiah could do such things and the crowd wanted to see the one who had raised the dead! And, perhaps, Jesus was the Messiah king they had longed for, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” they shouted. “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” The religious leaders however had a problem with this public display and “the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’” John remarks that they were fearful of their standing and that the people liked Jesus better than them and whined, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:19 NIV) Jesus bluntly responds, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out”, we find the crowd getting carried away!

EXAMPLE: How sad to realize that it was an unsaved crowd who got so excited about Jesus that they could not be silent. They sang the praises of God, gave Him glory, and professed Jesus as Messiah! The religious leaders desired they not make this public display. Which crowd do you find yourself belonging to this morning? I am not talking about worship service; I am speaking about a public display of your devotion to the Lord? We live in a day and age where there are those who try and find offense at the least little thing. So we often remain silent about our faith, when we should be the ones to sing, shout, and praise the Lord openly. We find the crowd getting carried away over Jesus, why don’t you?

We may forget that here in these few verses are some of the most startling contrasts of the world we live in. We have folks who even though they saw, heard, and experienced Jesus, refusing to believe. We have others who perhaps had never see Jesus before or experienced anything He had done, believing. And then we see some very personal moments from Jesus and discover that…

III. On that day, Jerusalem was condemned and cried over! (Vv. 41-44)

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

1. There are a few times in the Bible that can give the reader pause and this is truly one of them. The dusty gravel strewn road slowly ascends and as the traveler makes his way to the top the ridge, there is a moment where you cannot see the Holy City ahead and then it rises to view as you gain the crest. It is at that moment we find Jesus, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” The poignancy of the moment is not lost. Touched with a tender concern for His people, Jesus’ natural passions are moved, and His tears fall readily from His eyes. This must be understood that here the Messiah is showing us His humanity. He shows His concern for those He came to die. But more than this, Jesus knows that the city will be destroyed and the temple razed within a few years because of what its rulers will do to the one who weeps over them now! He prays, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” How sad to realize that there are those who refuse to see with their eyes and listen with their hearts to the call of Jesus. Jesus pronounces judgment on the city and as such the entire nation, “The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.” When the Jews rebel, in 66 AD, after Rome pulled some of its troops out of the country, they soon returned. Nero dispatched Vespasian to restore order. In 68 AD Nero died by his own hand, creating a power vacuum in Rome. In the resulting chaos, Vespasian was declared Emperor and returned to Rome. Jerusalem later fell to Vespasian’s son Titus in 70 AD. Jesus predicts, “They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” And it came true. The Romans besiege Jerusalem for seven years building ramps against its walls and starving its citizens inside. On that day, little did the world know that Jerusalem was condemned and cried over!

EXAMPLE: How would you respond to those who not only disdain you personally but also ignored you completely when you are trying to rescue them? Jesus’ whole nation is at risk of being destroyed because of their deliberate disobedience and spiritual blindness. The closest Israel came to being obliterated by God before was when it was busy molding golden calves to worship when God was personally giving them the Law on Mt. Sinai. Yes, they were sent into exile several times because of their disobedience, but this time there would be no rescue. Israel would be judged for its deliberate blindness and disobedience. They would be judged for murdering the Son of God when they knew He was innocent. Yet, through all of this, we find Jesus crying over His people who would so readily betray Him. On that day, Jerusalem was condemned and cried over!

Conclusion:

We find Jesus making the proper preparations! We find the crowd getting carried away! On that day, Jerusalem was condemned and cried over!

This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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