Getting our Bearings

How good are you at giving directions? There you are a car pulls up and asks you how can I get to the Tescos at Pitsea.
Well you get on the A127 and go to the next turn off at the Nevendon flyover....
No hang on it might be better going into Basildon town centre and turning left at Broadmayne....
 No maybe you should carry on; yes go on past the Hospital and you will come to the A13 and turn left their.
Can you use the A-Z for London
How good are you at reading a map?
Many people now have Satellite Navigation in their cars.
 I have been in a car with a Sat Nav system in it and I was amazed at how good it was. It just told us when to turn and it was right.

We need to be able to find our way around more than just from A-B but in every situation of life
1. The psalms a preamble
In December I read a Psalm which seemed to do just this to help us find our way. It was so powerful and relevant and God I believe pointed me in its direction so that I could share this with you.

Before I read it though I want to remind you about the Psalms

The Psalms are in addition to everything else they are, beautiful Hebrew poetry, songs intended to be sung. They represent some of the most beautiful poetry in the world.

More people could name a psalm they love than any other piece of the bible
And yes its usually Psalm 23.

Hebrew poetry is written in a particular way

The writers of these Psalms use two common methods.

One is the use of synonyms -Words that almost mean the same

Two is repeated lines which say almost the same thing but not quite.
Students of the Bible often call this Parallelism

This has three effects.
It is very beautiful
It brings incredible clarity to the meaning of the psalmist
It slows us down to think about the meaning.

An example is Psalm 103: 10
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
Or repay us according to our iniquities.

Another example
Psalm Ps 121:7
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

For the most part we do not need to break this down into all the words to understand the meaning.
2. Psalm 19
So please turn to Psalm 19
I will read from the Message
A David psalm
1God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
2Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
3Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
4But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
God makes a huge dome
for the sun—a superdome!
5The morning sun’s a new husband
leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete
racing to the tape.
6That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.
7The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.
8The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.
9God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.
10God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.
11There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
12Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
13Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
14These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
God, Priest-of-My-Altar.
This Psalm is often described as being the twofold revelation of God.
  1. He reveals Himself in Creation v1-6
  2. He reveals Himself in the Law v7-11
We know to that God revealed Himself most clearly in a third way in Jesus.
But I want to focus on those verses 7-11.
A minute a go I talked about how the Psalms are written and here is a perfect example of Parallelism.
So I need to say we must be careful not to read to much into the different ways in which God’s Law is described.
David is inspired by God to paint this wonderful picture of God’s Word to us.
Why was David keen to do this?
Because He knew that when he and us tried to figure things out without God’s Word we get into a real mess.
God wants us to get our bearings in life by having the word as a compass or a map.
How do we bring these truths to bear on our life and particularly the lives of those around us
We cannot stand and wring our hands. Be a collective edition of Grumpy Old men or women, bemoaning a non-existent rose tinted past,
or hoping desperately for a sovereignly different future of revival,
We are called today now as Brian said last week to be a responsive people
Trained to hear God’s voice and obey it.
The issues of our day are complicated. And continue to throw some challenging questions in our direction about what is human life?
What is a nation? What is a culture? What is just war?
We are not children and cannot hide behind a wall of ignorance. 
Finding our own peace in this will be a first step in communicating that same peace to others.
God has revealed Himself to us
7-11 Six titles for God’s special verbal revelation are given:
1.      “law of the Lord” (Heb. Yahweh),
2.      “testimony of the Lord,”
3.      “statutes of the Lord,”
4.      “commandment of the Lord,”
5.      “fear of the Lord,” and
6.      “judgments of the Lord.”
These six titles are given six different qualities:
1.      “perfect,”
2.      “sure,”
3.      “right,”
4.      “pure,”
5.      “clean,” and
6.      “true.”
These six qualities have six different effects on man:
1.      “converting the soul,”
2.      “making wise the simple,”
3.      “rejoicing the heart,”
4.      “enlightening the eyes,”
5.      “enduring for ever,” and
6.      “righteous altogether.”
Law of the Lord- A heart thing
Is fulfilled in Christ He is the law expressed fully in human form. What does that mean. Well listen to this
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn 14:5-6)
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:36-40)
We are not He is BUT
Converting the soul
There is a change that is happening in us because we are submitting to listening to following the law of Christ
Testimony- A witness thing
There is a lot of rubbish spoken about God’s Word. I trust God’s Word and yet I know that we cannot commit intellectual suicide. There are things that
are difficult contradictory baffling. Let’s not be ashamed of it.
As a whole it sits outside human thinking in a way that angers frustrates and provokes men & women.
Making Wise the simple
The value of the Word is in its ability to bring clarity to situations we do not understand.
Statutes- A written thing
I want to say a lttle bit about statutes. Christians are often accused of being a don’t do this Don’t do that kind of people. 
I Challenge that
The Bible says the statutes of the Lord are right
It is right to love our Children and protect them from harm
It is right to honour the family with a mother and a father as God’s best for our Children
It is Right to look to God for our future and destiny and therefore bonkers to be dabbling about into horoscopes mediums and psychics
It is right that sex is fantastic and at its best when intimately explored between a man and a woman who have covenanted before God to commit to each other for life.
It is right that God wants us to prosper and be blessed so giving and serving and investing into His Kingdom is Right and nuts to be gambling and wasting money relying on other sources
It is right to be talking to God reading His rich word, building friendships relationships that encourage our faith and speak of a Holy God
Yes these things are RIGHT
Rejoicing the Heart- They make you feel good.
Commandments- A spoken thing
The commands of God are not distant and designed to be on legal documents.
They are working everyday things which God speaks into our hearts
Tell the truth NOW
Ring your dad Now
Put it back its not yours
These commands in our everyday life bring purity to us.
Enlightening the eyes
Sue often speaks of people she has known who are Godly people, who when they look into your eyes or ask you how you are doing. You can see Jesus in their eyes. Something that comes from a purity of lifestyle that follows the commands of God.
Fear- MUST be Our response to God’s Law
You are a forgiven sinner don’t you dare ever be complacent about that. When you muck up Repentance needs to be swift and complete. 
God is not mocked. Sort it out
He is a Holy God in who’s presence you can stand because your sins are forgiven. The Fear of the Lord is a cleansing thing
John Bunyan wrote Pilgrims progress whilst in prison for his faith and this is one short but favourite passage of it from chapter 3
Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.” Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold, three Shining Ones came to him, and saluted him with, “Peace be to thee.” So the first said to him, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment, the third also set a mark on his forehead, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the celestial gate: so they went their way. Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing,
“Thus far did I come laden with my sin,
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither. What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!”
God’s holiness is not a passing phase God’s Holiness is not a varying thing it is unchanging and eternal.
Judgments- A final thing
We can trust the judgments of God. But they are not what would have been without the love that sent Jesus to die for us.
Jesus described Himself as the Truth and when God looks at us what He sees is that truth The judgment was made we were guilty but He took our guilt on himself
Righteous altogether
Making us altogether righteous
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.


Tim Blake, 10/02/2007