Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2007-11-28 A Three Strand Rope - Psalm 19.mp3

A Three Strand Rope

Psalm 19
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. God Appears in Creation, Scripture, and Experience

A. God establishes truth through multiple witnesses. “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.” (Deuteronomy 17:6)

B. Multiple witnesses share their strength with each other. “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

When the psalms are learned and understood, they become the instruments of meditation and reflection; thoughts, words, and actions begin to conform to the mind of God.

II. Creation Reveals a God

A. Creation points to a creator; science so-called which does not point to God is partial at best and probably false. “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psalm 19:1) “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” (1 Timothy 6:20) [Science is knowledge derived from observations, of and deduction from, facts.]

B. Meticulous observation of the world helps people understand what God has made and how it works; discovery of reliable patterns undermines the infidel doctrine of chance. “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (Psalm 19:2)

C. All forms of intelligence eventually return to the concept of intentional origin and pattern. “There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:3)

D. Evidence for creation stretches across all forms of science and every direction of scientific research; meaning and purpose appear at all levels. “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,” (Psalm 19:4)

1. Paul (Romans 10:8) quotes from the Septuagint, as he uses sound, rather than line, but the meaning is the same.

2. Just as Scripture interlaces and cross-confirms, technical observations display self-supporting patterns which mount into larger and larger levels of understanding toward God. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” (Isaiah 28:10)

E. Reality presses its case with enthusiasm. “Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.” (Psalm 19:5)

F. Unbiased observation turns the open mind to the Creator. “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (Psalm 19:6) “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” (Romans 1:20-22)

III. Scripture Reveals the True God

A. Scripture clarifies knowledge, drawing connections, becoming the entirely reliable guide to faith and practice. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7)

B. Just as old or bleary-eyed men and those with weak vision, if you thrust before them a most beautiful volume, even if they recognize it to be some sort of writing, yet can scarcely construe two words, but with the aid of spectacles will begin to read distinctly; so Scripture, gathering up the otherwise confused knowledge of God in our minds, having dispersed our dullness, clearly shows us the true God. [Calvin’s Institutes: Bk. 1, Ch. 1, P. 10] “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8)

C. The proper respect for God which Scripture cultivates always leads to righteousness. “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:9) “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9)

D. True knowledge of God is more valuable than any other earthly treasure or joy. “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10)

E. Knowledge of Scripture brings more reward than any other form of knowledge. “Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:11)

IV. Experience Confirms the Grace of My God

A. People who understand what God does and says come to understand their overwhelming need of the Savior. “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Psalm 19:12)

B. As people grasp the terrible consequences of ignorant presumption, a passion for holiness emerges. “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:13)

C. People who understand reality find hope and strength in the Redeemer. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

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