November 14, 2018 God is Loving

·         I have a Beanie Baby moose, Chocolate. I’ve had it since Kayla and I started dating. I keep it above the steering wheel of my car, and every car I’ve owned since I got it. It’s a reflection of someone’s love for me, and I’ve kept it because of my love for this person. It isn’t valuable to anyone else, but it means the world to me because of the person who gave it to me.

·         What do you have with you right now that reminds you of how someone in your life loves you?

Let’s look at God’s love for humanity- at how much God loves you and me. God’s love is so much deeper and stronger than the love we can feel towards another person, and it was displayed most passionately through the gift of Jesus, God’s son.

Have you ever read scripture and thought to yourself…why in the world did the person write this?!

·         There are some verses that will really make you scratch your head and wonder. Tonight, let’s take that approach with these verses that we are going to read.

·         Psalm 136 is one of those chapters that at least for me makes me wonder why.

o   As we read, you will notice something very interesting…lets read

 

PSALM 136

Psalm 136 breaks down into 3 categories; A Call to Praise; Causes for Praise and the Concluding Praise

A Call to Praise:

·         Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good

o   What does it mean to be “good”?

§  Good is a subjective term. 

§  Bad is also a subjective term.

§  But, we all have an understanding of good.

·         Is getting punched in the face good?

·         Is having gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe good?

·         Is getting a hug after a difficult day from someone you love, good?

·         Is getting a gift from a friend, good?

·         Why?

§  The dictionary defines good as – “to be desired or approved of.”

·         If there is anyone that is good, anyone that should be desired or approved of, it is the One who is the ultimate good, God.

§  Also defines as “having the qualities required for a particular role” ... basically qualified for the job.

§  Synonyms include- fine, superior, quality

·         If there are three words that I would use to describe God, they would definitely be fine, superior and quality.

o   So the writer gives praise to God because He is good and then says, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

 

·         Give thanks to the God of gods (No other gods exist, but, it does put into perspective that there is no idol that we can worship that will be on the same level as God. So, we should give our thanks to the One who created us, not the things that He created…including ourselves.)

o   A God is worthy of our worship. There is a little bit of a difference here between what the writer says here and what he says next, but again he writes…

§  “For His steadfast love endures forever.”

 

·         Give thanks to the Lord of Lords

o   Lord- Someone or something having power, authority or influence; a master or ruler

§  The difference here is that a god is someone or something that we worship, but a Lord is someone who is a master. You do not have to worship a Lord. But, God is both God and Lord. So He is worthy of our worship and our obedience.

§  “For his steadfast love endures forever.”

Causes for Praise (4-22)

·         To him alone does great wonders

·         To him by understanding made the heavens

·         Continue on through verse 22

·         The writer goes through all of creation and attributes it to God. But at the end of every verse he says the same thing…

o   “For his steadfast love endures forever.”

Concluding Praise (23-26)

·         It is He who remembered us in our low estate

o   He is there for us when we hit rock bottom.

o   Think about how bad Israel got...slavery, prostitution, worshipping false gods, sacrificing their kids to idols, starvation from wars, exile, etc…

o   How far down in our own “low estate” have we been? Have we hit rock bottom? Do you realize that God is even there waiting for you?

o   “For his steadfast love endures forever”

·         And Rescued us from our foes

o   The writer is talking about the many armies that came against Israel during their time. He would always bring them out. They wouldn’t always survive in the way they may have wanted, but God always had a remnant. Through each one of these wars and exiles, God brought them to a place of humility and repentance. Through all of it they could say

§  “For His steadfast love endures forever”

·         he who gives food to all flesh

o   ALL flesh- this means those that believe and even those that don’t or even hate God. He provides for them all.

§  Matthew 5:45 says, “For he causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.

o   Why would God provide even for those that hate him?

§  His steadfast love endures forever”

·         Give thanks to the God of heaven

o   Why?

§  “Because his steadfast love endures forever”…

We are talking about God loving us tonight. There is no greater thing to remember than how He showed his love, ultimately through the sacrifice of Christ.

“God’s love is amazing- its beyond our understanding. There have been days that I looked back at myself, how I treated others, the things I had to offer to God as worship (which were many times broken promises, failed attempts at righteousness, prideful bragging about myself, laziness, complacency…this is what I had to offer Christ for that day) and I thought to myself after the day was over…how can God love me.

God’s love for us isn’t conditional, meaning there is nothing we can do to earn it, and nothing we can do to lose it. (Look at the scripture again, he provides for the people that hate him…can we do that? Do we love people enough to give them everything we have even when they hate us?

He chooses to do this, because his steadfast love endures forever.

Praise God that He loves someone like me. Praise God that he can love someone like me…praise God that he can love someone like me. 

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