SERMON PENTECOST 7 JULY 23, 2017
Text: Psalm 145 The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
I would like to share with you a poem that I came across years ago. It will help us to appreciate what God’s Word in our Psalm says. The poem is entitled, “The Ultimate Strike.”
“How good it is that God above has never gone on strike
Because He was not treated fair in things he did not like.
If only once He’d given up and said, ‘That’s it I’m through.
I’ve had enough of those on earth, so this is what I’ll do.
I’ll give my order to the sun, Cut off the heat supply
And to the moon, give no more light, and run the oceans dry.
Then to make things really tough and put the pressure on,
Turn off the vital oxygen till every breath is gone.
We humans don’t care whom we hurt to gain the things we like
But what a mess we would be in, if God would go on strike!”
The Lord, of course, has not gone on strike. And he will not go on strike. As the Psalm says, he remains faithful, he continues to shower blessings on the whole world. But let us remember that the Lord does punish individuals and nations when they go after other gods. We have the example of Judah whom the Lord allowed to be carried off into captivity for 70 years. In addition, if we teach our children to say thank you for gifts they receive, shouldn’t we also then thank the Lord. Our Psalm teaches us this very thing, we are to say Thank You Lord for All Your Blessings. Using the Psalm then and the poem above, let us note at least three areas of blessings the Lord has laid out for us in his love.
Our first verse is familiar. It is often used before meals by pastor here at church. “The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” At the super market there seem to be endless items in boundless quantity. There are many kinds of different apples to say nothing of all the other fruits; there are vegetables galore with which to make salads; in the meats, there are at least four types of fowl and then beef, lamb, pork and veal. There are many other food stuffs also available. When is the last time we thanked the Lord for this? Let’s say that we haven’t for a while. Because we haven’t, God goes on strike. He empties the seas, and so there is no rain; as a result, no feed for animals, one can’t grow vegetables, even the cactuses die! There is a race on, will we die of hunger first or thirst? Either way, it will be agonizing. It will especially tear our hearts apart to hear our child say, “Mommy, I’m so hungry”, and we can’t do a thing about it. Considering this, let’s remember to pray sincerely and often, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good and his mercy endures forever.” You see God truly loves you; God does open his hand to each of you, and there is enough in that hand to feed and clothe each and every one of you. I do not see one person here who is malnourished. You have clothes on your back. So, you are blessed, God has not gone on strike! Thank you Lord for all your blessings
Next our text says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” How often do you pray to the Lord? At meals, at bedtime, in the morning? But there have been times we’ve haven’t prayed as we should. We’ve been too busy? We’ve forgotten? God goes on strike. Then something comes up in your life; also in the life of your neighbor. You all have lung problems. God is sucking all the oxygen out of the air. There aren’t enough doctors, the pharmacies run ought of inhalers and medicines to help. Your breathing becomes harder and harder. Wow, you really need God, so you pray. But you hear a voice that says, “this line is no longer in service!” Then we begin to understand, I neglected praying, I neglected thanking God for the good health and all the other blessings he has given me.
Consider a few everyday samples of your health & other needs. You are going to have open heart surgery, but God won’t be there, he’s on strike. Your child was hit by a car, her life hangs in the balance, God’s not answering prayers. You lost your job, God won’t help you find a new one. You have a car accident; the insurance company doesn’t seem to be helping. You try praying but God’s not listening, he’s on strike.
But God didn’t really go on strike. God said, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” He’s the one who invited us to pray! Let’s honor God by accepting this, by always taking prayer seriously. Let’s not get lazy; let’s concentrate as we should when we pray. Especially, let’s remember to pray for the things we need most, like the forgiveness of sins. Likewise, let’s ask him to do what is best for us. We don’t always know what that is, but he does.
Let’s thank God for all his blessings. He remains faithful. He delights in your praying to him often. He also helps us in prayer. An example, when you don’t what to pray for, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit who dwells in you knows, and he even prays for you! See, how interested God is in you. We can surely daily say, and more than once. Thank you Lord for all your blessings. Knowing God’s love for us, let’s review our prayer life frequently and make sure we are persevering in talking to the Lord. God is not on strike, he waiting to hear from you, his “phone line” is open.
Our Text next says, “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” You sin. You’ve hurt people with that sin. You feel miserable about what you have done. You turn to the Lord. But he’s tired of you hurting others, so he goes on strike. When you seek forgiveness, you get an automated answering service which says, “Press a number from one to zero indicating which commandment you broke.” If you don’t which commandment is which, call our 800 number for an educational moment.” You press number 8 because you have spoken badly about someone. This is the instruction you receive, “have a t-shirt made which says, “I broke the 8th Commandment” on the front. On the back have printed, “I spoke badly about a friend, I’m sorry”. Now, you think that is ridiculous. You wouldn’t do it if you were told to. It is no more ridiculous than you trying to cover up your sin. It is also just as silly to think you can undo the wrong you’ve done. Besides, none of this helps your conscience, does it. There’s no peace you can obtain on your own.
Thank the Lord for all his blessings. God didn’t go on strike, nor did Jesus stop short of the cross. Thank the Lord for he shows you and me great mercy. Our Psalm says, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.” It also says, “The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.” The Lord has never gone on strike, he never will. But he is righteous and so don’t rebel against him. He is so faithful that again and again he hears our cries for forgiveness and he grants that to us. He is faithful when we are not and keeps his promises to us. He is faithful in his love; it is always constant; it is greater than a mother’s love for her newborn child. Doesn’t he tell you how he made his own Son to be the sacrificial Lamb; didn’t Jesus lay down his life for you whom he loves? Didn’t he rise again to show you he had won your forgiveness, it is real and true.
Furthermore, he watches over you day and night. He not only doesn’t go on strike, but he passes sleepless nights watching over you. He works to keep you in the one true faith. Now we have to talk long distance to him. But he as well as we look forward to the day we will see each other face to face.
Thank the Lord for all his blessings. May we remember to daily review what God has done for us; may we daily review the blessings he has given us. May we daily give him thanks to him many times. May we live each day as a life of thanks and praise him for He is good. He is very good to us! Amen.