Awakened To Awe and Wonder

Bless The Lord O My Soul With Awe And Wonder

Ross Sawyers
Nov 6, 2022    1hr 2m
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There is a distinct difference between the Creator and creation. Before we know the Creator for ourselves, sometimes we worship the universe, His creation, which is similar to giving credit to a computer program as opposed to the Writer of the program for its brilliance. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] Just to cheer you on that way. We learned from Scripture a few things that we should be a part of as Christians. One, we're to pay taxes. Jesus was really clear that it would be a part of that, and so we want to be faithful and honorable with integrity in doing what Jesus said there. He also, we find in God's Word, that we're to pray for our leaders and for those who govern us. And so we want to be faithful, to pray for them. So let me cheer you on to pray. Scripture says not to complain, but to pray. And so we have much more effect on what goes on in our nation when we pray than we do when we complain, so let me cheer you on that way. And then the scripture also tells us that we're to submit to our governing authorities, and so he is on purpose, placed us in this cultural moment, in these boundaries under this government. And God's very intentional in what he does, and we want to submit and yield to that up to the point where we're asked to be disobedient to the Lord. At that point, we part ways, and we have to be willing to pay a price for our faith at that point. And that would be each of us leaning into the Lord, and what does that mean in the way God calls us?

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:18] And this week we happen to live in a country, by God's design, where we get the privilege to participate and who our leaders are. And so I would just encourage you, if you haven't voted already, to do so and to see what God does with that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:35] My confidence today, by the way, is not in a political party, it's not in a political leader, my confidence is in the God who channels the hearts of those leaders to accomplish his purposes. So regardless of how things roll in any given year, my trust ultimately is in him. And we're the most attractive of people when we reflect that trusting God in the society around us. So that's my prayer for us as we do that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:04] This last weekend, or this weekend as it continues on, our men are on retreat, at least a portion of our men, about 200 plus guys, took off this weekend. And our theme for this whole year has been outside, getting outside of our comfort zone, seeing if God would stretch us to a place and we'd be willing to follow him into that place, whatever that is, to get outside the four walls so that our faith is not contained within these walls, but we're bold outside of these walls.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:37] And then we've thought about 121 outdoors, and how can we on purpose get small groups of people out into God's creation doing the kinds of things that we love to do? Whatever it is, that thing you love to do outdoors? And can we gather a small group of people to join us, with more intentionality of spending time with God in what He's created? Spending time with each other talking about what it is that God has done with the hope that that would evoke in us more of an awe and a wonder of him. And that's happened all year long with groups going out and doing different things. And the idea for our ministry this year was could we do that with our guys, rather than gathering in one location, could we go out to lake houses and ranches and camp encampments and just be outside this weekend? And our guys did that, and so we had 20 different locations, 200 plus men, 25 groups working in those locations, and it's been pretty incredible what God's done. We didn't bring in a worship leader for the weekend. We didn't bring in a speaker for the weekend. It is designed around spending time alone with God, then gathering up with the small group and talking about how God met us in that space, and it's been really cool to watch God work and for men to be encountered in ways that maybe they've not been encountered before.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:06] We asked some guys just to send in some videos and pictures just to get a glance at what happened, this is pretty organic footage, and so we just want to at least give you an idea of a little bit of what happened.

Video Plays: [00:04:06] (Video Plays)

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:43] So like for us to just pick up on what happened this weekend if you'd turn your Bibles to Psalm 104, and I'd like for us to work through this Psalm today. And my hope would be that if there's not already an awe and a wonder of who God is in his creation, that today that we'd be awakened to that. I'm afraid that in these last few years that we've been put to sleep in so many ways, and darkened in the way that we see things, and down about things. And as someone said this week that I was listening to said, you know, it just seems like we've lost an awe and a wonder, there's not a just an awe about the little things that happen in life and a wonder of God. It's when we have an awe and a wonder of him that we will more likely want to serve him, follow him, and enjoy and love him. Minus that awe and wonder, it misses a bit. And so my prayer has been for today that just in a small way, that from the Scriptures, that God would awaken in our hearts of fresh awe and wonder of him, and that that would stir us in a way that there's a joy and a peace and a life that flows through us as we have that wonder recaptured. For many of you, that may be a wonder and awe that you already have, and I hope today just stokes the fire a little bit more. For many, we've gone stagnant and to sleep, I hope it awakens us, and for some of us, we might simply be dead in heart today, and maybe God will stir our hearts and make it alive again. That would be a good day on this day and stir all of our hearts to awe and wonder of him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:39] And the way I've thought about this Psalm is thinking about the big characteristics and attributes of God. And I want to just unfold it in ways that think about the character of God because while he's talking about all that he's created, the psalmist is, really what he's pointing to is who God is and what God's done. Everything centers on Him, and He receives the glory and the honor. In verses 1 through 4, we see God is awesome. I believe this is a word that in some ways and I don't always do it, it's a word I like, but I believe it's a word that maybe should be reserved for God Himself. In the Scriptures, it talks again and again, especially through the Psalms, about God being awesome in His Majesty. God is an awesome God, a God to be held in awe, and imagine if we just reserved that word for him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:40] And in verses 1-4, we see the awesomeness of God. The psalmist starts out and he says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty." He begins the Psalm, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" And he ends the Psalm this way. Here he is, he just begins and says, bless the Lord. and what does that word bless mean? It means to speak well of. And just on a personal note, the psalmist is saying, he's really just inviting us into what's happening with him, he says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul!" Let my soul speak well of God, that is what he's saying.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:28] The Hebrew word, the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, and the Hebrew word for soul is nephesh, it means all of who we are. When the psalmist says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul!", he's saying, I want to speak well of God with all of who I am. I heard somebody say the other day, and I hear this often, we think about often times our head doesn't connect to our heart, that we know something, but it doesn't connect to our heart. And I know what someone's saying when they say that, but I think there's a better way biblically to think about that idea. In the Hebrew the word heart includes the way we think, our motives, our emotions, and our actions. And I think when somebody's saying that the head is not connected to the heart, what they're saying is the way they think is not connecting with the emotions and the actions yet. But that actually is the heart, and the heart is not united, it's divided. The mind is thinking one thing, but the emotions are over here, the motives over here, and the actions aren't quite squaring up. And so the psalmist is saying I want everything to be united within me that speaks well of God. So the way I think, I want to think deeply and often and accurately about God, and I want that to so stir my emotions, that there's a joy, that there's a gladness in my heart that matches the way I think about God. And that changes my motivations, the knowledge of who God is so that the reason I do what I do is out of a love for God and what He's done for me. It's the love of Christ that motivates my heart. And when my heart's motivated that way, then the life of Christ is flowing through my life, and I'm submitted to him. And now my actions are squaring up with the way I think and the way I feel and the way I'm motivated. So when he says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul!", we don't want to just pass by that line, we want to know what he's saying is, I want to speak well of God in every aspect of who I am. "Bless the LORD, O my soul!" Why? Because "O Lord my God, you're very great." God is a great God, he's clothed with splendor and majesty in who he is. That metaphor of clothing, he's the king in all his glory.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:08] In verse 2, we start to see something that unfolds through this Psalm, and the psalmist, it seems, has in mind Genesis 1, the first book of the Bible, the creation account. And he goes through, in an indirect way, all six days of creation through this Psalm, and I'll point those out as we move through it. In verse 2, "Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak." On the first day of creation, God said in Genesis 1:3-5, “Let there be light”; and there was." So the Psalmist is thinking back to that light that God created, he covers himself with light as with a cloak, "Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain." This is like day 2 of creation in Genesis 1:6-8, and it's there that God establishes the firmament or the heavens, that separate the waters. And he's describing it in a metaphorical way, "Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. 3He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot."

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:17] On Friday afternoon, most of us experienced quite a storm, depending on where you were. And at the men's retreat, I was actually in Glen Rose, and I was delayed and didn't go to later in the afternoon. And when I arrived in Glen Rose, I looked off to the left, one, I passed a friend of mine that was going also, and he said, hey, look to the left, there's a rainbow. So that was kind of cool as we headed there. And then I was driving into Glen Rose, and when I drove into there, I looked off to the left and I saw cloud formations, I don't think like I've seen before, it was just a sweeping motion of the clouds in all their thickness. And I'd been hanging out in this Psalm, so it made me think about, that's God's chariot right there that he has created in the way we think about him in the clouds. And I looked at it and I thought, maybe I should take a picture, and one of the things my wife's great about reminding me of is sometimes we ought to just enjoy the moment. And I was driving, and I saw a lady, she stopped to take a picture of it and I thought she's missing the moment, I enjoyed the moment, she just missed it. Because that picture's not going to do justice, but every time we look in the clouds, it evokes an awe and a wonder of who God is, someone who shapes and forms and he makes them his chariot, it's the way he moves.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:36] "He walks upon the wings of the wind." And then makes reference to the angels in verse 4, "He makes the winds His messengers." That word messengers is the word for angels, "Flaming fire His ministers." This is a psalmist that's quoted this verse in Hebrews chapter 1 verse 7. And in Hebrews 1, it's establishing that Jesus is superior, and here we see that God is superior even over the angels, but they are His ministers, His messengers.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:10] In verses 5 through 9, I want us to think about God as the creator. He's awesome, and he's the creator. And one thing that is clear in this Psalm, is that God is distinct from his creation. We live in a culture where many see creation and the creator and us all as one, that we are one with nature. That is a worldview, it is a reality through which people see life. This psalmist is saying, no, God is distinct from that which he is created. He's awesome, he's the creator, and he's distinct from what he's created. A friend of a friend of mine was sharing a story this week about a friend of hers, and this friend of hers has a horse ranch in North Carolina and often will send pictures of the horses, pictures of the changing leaves in the seasons where they have seasons, and they send that, and just different things in God's creation. And this is a friend, that the North Carolina friend, did not come to Jesus until an adult. And so the friend here at church said she asked her, said, hey, how did you view creation when you were not a follower of Jesus? And how do you view creation now? It's a fantastic question. And this was the North Carolina friend's answer, when she was a teenager, she was into all kinds of religions that worshiped nature, she was fascinated by the beauty of nature, and that actually made perfect sense to her that you would worship that which is beautiful. As she got older, she learned computer programing. And as she learned computer programing, one day, it just clicked for her that worshiping nature is no different than worshiping the computer program, she actually needed to find the programmer. And then when she reads the Bible now, and the creation account, she knows that God is the programmer, he's the one worthy of worship. That's how her view changed, it's still beautiful to her, all of creation and nature, it's still fascinating, but now she worships the creator who's distinct from that which is being created. It points to the Creator, and that's who she worships.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:02] In verses 5 through 9, as we think about God as creator, "He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever." It's established, the Earth is established. "You covered it with the deep as with a garment." in verse 6, "The waters were standing above the mountains. 7At Your rebuke they fled, at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. 8The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which You established for them." God is the one that set the mountains in the valleys in place. He is the one that caused the waters to flee so that they would take the shape that they take. He established it, "You set a boundary that they may not pass over, so that they will not return to cover the earth." God is the one who designed all of this, it's stable because he set the boundaries. He's established it, it's not going to totter. He has it, it's his, as the creator.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:08] I ran into a guy the other day and he was talking about the Webb Space Telescope, that's replaced the Hubble telescope, and the images that are coming out of that. I mean, they're stunning. And he said he didn't name the name of the astrophysicist he said, but I read the other day about an astrophysicist who said, with all this that's coming out on the Webb Space Telescope, he said, there is no way this is random, no way. There is design and purpose and intention behind all that there is. And the beauty of this, I was thinking about it, I thought how cool that God would take finite, fragile, weak, broken human beings, and give them the ability to explore, discover, create, and see all that God made. See, God has a view where all of this is for him, it's for his enjoyment and his delight, and he invites us in to be a part of what he's created, and little by little, we see the magnificence of it. You see, science and God do not have to be in conflict, they come into conflict when science establishes itself or someone establishes science as God. Science is a beautiful thing, it helps us discover and see the beauty and the detail, and the magnificence of what God created. With every picture, every discovery, and every detail, it ought to just evoke a wonder and awe of God, not of science. That God would allow us to even capture parts of what it is that he's created in all of its vastness.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:56] But God is not only an awesome creator, he is the provider. In verses 10 through 18, "He sends forth springs in the valleys." So those mountains that he created, they now have springs flowing through them. They give drinks to every beast of the field, so they're taken care of. The wild donkeys quench their thirst, they're taken care of. Beside them, the birds of the heavens dwell, they lift up their voices among the branches, and they just sing among us. It was mentioned yesterday after our solitude time when we awakened yesterday at the retreat, the stars were blanketing the sky, the birds were singing, and there was a peace and a calm. God is the one who does this, he causes their voices to lift up. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers, the Earth is satisfied with the fruit of his works. God manages the springs and the waters for that which is his, and he provides graciously and carefully for them. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth in verse 14. That's day three in creation in Genesis 1:11-12, God established the vegetation and the trees.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:19] Someone said one time, I thought it was a good descriptor of Genesis 1, the creation account, that you can think about the first three days as the form, God created the form for everything, so that in days four through six, what He created could exist in that form. That's intentional design, form, and then we can function inside that form. That's what we've seen so far, even as the psalmist reflects on it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:45] Verse 15 "And wine which makes man’s heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil, and food which sustains man’s heart." God is the provider. Of the sustenance that we need. And then the wine, he says, to make our hearts glad, to have a joy. I want to make a quick side comment about alcohol because I believe that wine can be a good thing and then it can be a bad thing. Those good gifts of God can become those things that are not so good anymore. And I think we would all agree that drunkenness is wrong, it's sinful against God, that's clear from Scripture. If you're a follower of Jesus, you love God and His word, it's what it says, there's not a way to get around that. So we could probably all agree there. I think where we might choose to part ways is how we think about alcohol in general at that point, and some of us have experiences that cloud our minds a little more than someone else might have. But this is one thing I would say, when I read Scripture, this is what I understand wine would be for, is for enjoyment and that's what it's for. You can use alcohol as an escape, and not get drunk, and I would suggest that's an improper use of God's good design of it. If you need it to loosen up on the dance floor, I would suggest that's not God's best use of it, it is simply for the heart to be glad. Now, if you'd love to have a conversation about this another time, I'll be glad to do that. I just wanted to make a side note, it is for enjoyment when it steps past enjoyment, you'll be hard-pressed to find a biblical case for what you're going to do then. We will make sure use God gives good gifts in the way that God intended us to use them. Some of us have backgrounds where that which could be enjoyed, we need to die to. Because you come from a family of alcoholics, the odds are not in your favor of it staying at the enjoyment level. So we need to make good decisions around God's good gifts. So he's the provider, he's the sustainer, and he gives us things to enjoy and delight in. And that would be for each of us before God, under his word, to figure out what that looks like.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:13] The trees of the LORD drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted, 17Where the birds build their nests, and the stork, whose home is the fir trees." Verse 18, "The high mountains are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for the shephanim." And the shephanim are small, wild kind of furry animals. So all of these things that God is the provider for, he's a provider for us in humanity, our basic sustenance, the same for that which he's created in all of his creation. So he's awesome, he's the creator and he is the provider.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:46] And the fourth thing I would say about God, out of this Psalm, is that he's a rhythmic God. In verses 19 through 23, Now, I got a different sense of rhythm this weekend in the ministry. I don't know what it's like at a ladies' retreat, I don't even usually hear how it rolls when you stay in a cabin with multiple people. But the place where I stayed, there were multiple men in a bunk kind of setting. And I was told when I got there that one cabin was, it was a little more full and there was another one less full. And I thought, okay, well, the odds are better if I go to that one, there will be less snoring and a better shot that I might get a good night's sleep. And so I chose that one, bad move. As soon as the lights go out, maybe a few minutes later, the guy right next to me just went into snoring mode, loud, rhythmic, not so beautiful. All night long I listened, I was thinking, surely you'll get exhausted of snoring and it'll stop. It did not. The next morning, several of us who didn't sleep, and I was actually contemplating the injustice of it all. I thought, why is it that the people who snore seem to sleep well and the rest of us don't? What is that? How does that play out? I did appreciate in one cabin, a guy who knows these snores brought earplugs for everybody else, that's care. But it was really funny because we were walking to breakfast and we were talking about the snoring, and one guy said it was very rhythmic. And I thought, maybe. But he said, there was like one guy that really set the pace, and then it seemed like some others came in singing a melody and then the harmony, and it was kind of all working together. And I thought, all right, maybe. But God is more rhythmic than a snoring group of men, in the way that he's created orderly and rhythmically his creation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:08] Verse 19, He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting. 20You appoint darkness and it becomes night, in which all the beasts of the forest prowl about. 21The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God. 22When the sun rises they withdraw and lie down in their dens. 23Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until evening." God designed a rhythm. He set, in day four, in Genesis 1, in that account he sets in place in verses 14 through 19, two great luminaries, the moon and the sun. And it would be the moon in the sun, and he places the stars, but it would be the moon in the sun and the way he worked and designed them that we have our seasons and our days and our years and the way they established. God is rhythmic in the way He's designed that, and the way he expresses it here, he's designed humans to work in the day, and the animals, they do their thing during the night. Oh God is orderly and rhythmic and worthy to be praised in the way he's designed that, which is his.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:14] Over the last several weeks, I've been highlighting different high schools. And we've wanted to just show what God's doing through our students at 121 on different high school campuses. And today, I want to highlight Faith Christian, their mascot is The Lion. So I thought we could just pause here at verse 21, where the young lions roar after their prey and God's mention of the lions, and to talk about what's going on at Faith. And I've been a good sport on a lot of this, and so I was brought this mascot head. I feel like I'm on ESPN about to pick the winner for the day, and I've worn it, I did it, so there you go. But I love what's happening on the campus at Faith Christian. And when I think about this 104th Psalm, what they're doing on that campus in private Christian education, is weaving together and loading the students with God's Word, with experiences to encounter God in different ways, with the hope that the hearts of those students will be grabbed and that there will be a wonder and an awe of God awakened in them for him. You see strategically, you're loading kids up early with the Scriptures. and just load their minds, and load their minds with it, and with hope.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:54] Parents of four kids that have already graduated from a private school in the area, they told me the other day, and I thought was so good, they said, do you know what? There is no question that every kid that came out of the school where our kids were, they know and understand the biblical worldview, but you cannot change the heart of the kid. We can't educate to get the heart where we want the heart to be, only God rescues and grabs the heart. We can load it up with the truth in the awe and the wonder and with the hope that God will cause their hearts to look at Him in all of his creation and be stirred with an awe and a wonder. And I really only think when we have that wonder and awe will we go all in, in following after God? And I love that Faith Christian is doing exactly that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:52] I have several stories from them that I want to share, in ways God's working in those students. One came from a teacher, and it's their debate teacher, and she described what happens in their debate tournament. She said as a Christian school, we could just function in debates with other Christian schools, but we've on purpose chosen not to do that so that we're encountering all different worldviews. We're training our students in a biblical worldview, we're training them in all the other worldviews, so they'll know how to speak, their worldview. And all worldviews cannot be true because each worldview claims to be true. So we can't do this whole sync it all up, and it all works together, it does not. Because each one has different truth claims, and they can't all be true at once. And so we're training our students to do so. And she described one of her students, Abby, who was at a debate tournament, and she met another young lady who has a naturalist worldview, which means she doesn't have a God-centered worldview, it would be like I spoke of earlier with nature. And this girl, two of the topics that they were going to speak of at the debate, one was on legalizing prostitution, and they were going to debate the merits of that. And the other debate topic, this particular one, was to increase funding for gender-affirming surgeries for minors, these were their debate topics. The girl that's not Abby, said to Abby, I bet you don't even debate these. Because she just made an assumption about the Christian student that she's not going to tackle these topics. And she said, oh, no, I've studied these, I'm ready for these. And they ended up having a long conversation around these things, they learn things about each other, they had a civil and respectful conversation with each other, and that other girl walked away with a whole new perspective of someone that follows Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:04] And there are several students, they run into this again and again at the debate tournaments, and the way they're being prompted. Other 121rs that are part of that debate team are Ellen Okunbor, Isabelle Okunbor, Abby Tose, Jacob Tose, Ellie Marie Powers, Wyatt Powers, Jace Walker, Jackson Walker, Hudson Smith, and Kaiden Marchetti, Jermaine and I were talking this morning, and he said how cool it is that there are so many students that are actively following Jesus. And by the way, just because someone's at a Christian school doesn't mean they're following Jesus. I don't know what your perspective is, but when I was 20 years old, I went to Washtenaw Baptist University. My idea of a Baptist school was that everybody there was a Christian, everybody there loved God, everybody followed Jesus, and this is going to be like one giant worship service when I showed up on campus, that was in my head. I had no idea that there would be people there that aren't Christians, and there was everything on that campus, so just because we're in that kind of environment doesn't mean people are following Jesus. Now, I loved my time there and there was an opportunity there that was different perhaps than at other places.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:11] Other students at Faith Christian...Camden Foster just started there not too long ago, she's in two Bible studies, and then she's also a Bible buddy to a fourth grader, they've designed it where the older are teaching the younger, which is a beautiful picture from Scripture. And then Luke Matthewa, his creative arts teacher Scott Werntz, who used to be a part of 121 years ago, loves God. He just wrote paragraphs gushing about Luke and his boldness, his faith, and the way he's using the Christian arts to glorify and honor God. RJ Weaver, another young man in our church, I know he's as solid as can be, and he didn't tell us anything about himself. He wrote about his friends, Brennen Byrd, and others, and the way they're living out for Jesus. Peyton [inaudible] talked about how her freshmen retreat, where three kids accepted Christ, to reaffirm their faith in Christ, and I just love seeing what God's doing in that way. Chase Cross, the quarterback of the football team, has just loved his time at the school. His football coach is doing a Bible study on Sunday afternoons with them, with the seniors, and just helping them get ready as they get ready to take off from campus. Anna Matlock is another from our church that's there, she just transferred in not too long ago as well, and now she's one that's helping new students as they come on to that campus. I love that God's working in different ways, and there are a number of other ways that he's working through them. These are young lions, they are living out what God is calling, they have an awe and a wonder of God. If you read what they say, you can see it, and hear it in what they're saying. Oh, may God do that with us, He's the provider.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:09] God is also a wise God, in verses 24 through 26, "O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions. 25There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number, animals both small and great. 26There the ships move along, and Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it." This corresponds to day 5 of creation and Genesis 1:20-23, where God creates the water creatures. And the leviathan here, most think that's a word for the whales, for the giant sea creatures that are in the water. And did you notice what the psalmist says about them? That God made the Leviathan, which you formed to sport in it, to delight in it, to play in it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:58] See, so often we think these things are about us paying $60 or $70 to get a tour to go see what's happening, but there are whales right now all over the oceans that are delighting, sporting, moving throughout, rhythmically singing and dancing, and God is enjoying every bit of it because he created them to sport and delight in the water which he made. Oh God, is the God who's wise in the way that he's created and designed in that same water where the whales are at play, the ships are moving about. Oh, he's a wise God, it's why the Scripture says if you lack wisdom, ask God because he possesses every ounce of wisdom in all eternity.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:50] He's a God who is also the sustainer. In verses 27 through 30, "They all wait for You to give them their food in due season. 28You give to them, they gather it up; you open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. 29You hide Your face, they are dismayed; you take away their spirit, they expire and return to their dust. 30You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground." God has designed the days, he's designed what will happen in those days, when things will begin, when things will end, when things will be renewed, and he's the one that sustains that which is living right now. We don't have to live in a media-driven fear or anxiety about the earth or about the world. We want to be responsible and care for it, God's given it to us to care for, but we don't need to be in this panic like everything's going to fall apart. God is the sustainer of that which He has created. He designed it, he made it, he upholds it, and he sustains it. He works things in his time and in his way.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:11] And then God is a glorious God in verses 31 and 32, "Let the glory of the LORD endure forever; let the LORD be glad in His works; 32He looks at the earth, and it trembles; he touches the mountains, and they smoke." Let the Lord be glad in His work, let the glory of the Lord endure forever. God is a glorious God, he's awesome, he's the Creator, he's the provider, he's wise, he's the sustainer, he's the one who is glorious in all that is. So all glory goes to him, and I've mentioned it a couple of times, I just want to highlight it here one more time, "Let the glory of the Lord endure forever, let the LORD be glad in His works." He's glad in what he's made he enjoys it. He enjoys the sunset, and the sunrise, he enjoys the formation of the clouds, he enjoys the rain when it falls, he enjoys the lightning, he enjoys the thunder, he enjoys the wind when it's soft and gentle and when it comes hard, he enjoys the mountains and the different seasons and the changing of the leaves, he finds delight in all that. He enjoys the mountain streams; he enjoys every aspect of what he's made. So all glory to God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:29] In that again, he invites us into what he enjoys. He's created this for himself, and he's invited us in to be a part of it. It would be similar to, you having certain things to enjoy. We had, I don't know how many different families that let us use lake houses, ranches, and so forth this weekend. They invited us in to enjoy that which has been given to them. And then in that, we're seeing men all over, 2 hours from here and different places that are being evoked to an awe and wonder of God from those places, they're just invited into it. So the psalmist is saying the earth is Lord's, and it's all his, so we're just simply inviting people into what God has given us. And what God has given us, he's invited us in to enjoy what is his. This whole Psalm is about God and a fresh awakening to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:31] So what's our response to that? In verses 33 to 35, is to be glad in the same way that he is. We can know that our hearts are in really good spots when we're glad when we see the beauty and goodness and truth of God, and we're glad about that, that's the right response. When there's some awakening in us of an awe and a wonder of what God has done. This is the response, verse 33, "I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." One response to all that God has done is song, and he doesn't say those who sing really well, this should be your response. Thank goodness, y'all can hear that up here, somebody said it. One way that we might know how glad our heart is, is how loud we sing when we gather together on a Sunday morning. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't, it says something about us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:04] Just guessing for the college football fanatics, I bet your voice about goes out by the end of a game. And then I'll bet if you're a real loyalist to your school, you can still sing that school song at the end with vigor. Someone sent me them singing their school song yesterday, what does it say about our hearts if we can't sing loud and with a joy? Because he says, this is my response to the awe and wonder of God, my heart expresses itself in a song.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:55] Now I know some of us probably sing louder in the car or in the shower or other places because we're self-conscious about our voices, but imagine if we could just get so captured by God that it just didn't matter who was around us, I'm just going to sing the way I know how to sing because my heart is so in awe of who God is right now, I can't help it. And God will fix that in the end, it'll sound better when we're all together in the end, but in the meantime, we can just kind of endure that with one another. But it's a glorious noise that comes to him when we sing.

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:29] It's not only just a song though, that's just a thought, but verse 34, "Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord." So the Lord's gladness works, the psalmist says he's glad, let my meditation be pleasing to him. That's one of the things I love about our men's retreat this weekend, you're thinking that I told you there's no speaker in worship, and the first pictures you saw were a speaker in worship. Thursday night we had a beast feast, Travis let us in the worship, it was excellent. And then Paul Johnson, who's a part of our body, he spoke, he really just encouraged our men. But the rest of the weekend, it's really about meditating on the Lord like the psalmist said, it's getting alone with God and meditating and chewing on and thinking about the things of God. And when we carve out those spaces, we actually have time to meditate and chew on the things of God. And our guys yesterday were just saying they've loved the space because it's so hard to make that space with the pace of their lives. But a response when we have an awe and wonder of God is to meditate on it, to think on it. Not just to pass by the stars but stop and gaze at the stars. It's not just to pass by the bee that's around the flower, but to really look at the bee that's around the flower. There is just an awe and a wonder about everything. One of the things I love about my wife, she loves all of what God has created, in the littlest things there's just a delight in her, it just comes out. We just have that awakened in us because it causes an awe and a wonder of God in his creation when we chew on it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:47:11] But you know what's really funny about this psalm? Is the way it ends, it's just so upbeat. And then verse 35, "Let sinners be consumed from the earth and let the wicked be no more. It's like he looks around and says, this is so beautiful and so good, could we just please eliminate all the sinful things so that we can see it even more in its beauty and its goodness in its truth? Because even those beautiful and majestic things that we get to see that God has made, they're still tainted by sin. The Scripture says that creation is groaning right now because of the sins of humanity. And that creation eagerly awaits when Jesus will make all things right so that creation no longer groans. Creation groans because you and I groan, because the image of God in us has been marred by sin, and we miss out when we're not glad and we're not evoked to an awe and wonder, it's that ugly sin that's going to be messing around in there that's going to stall that out.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:47] So the one hope we have is that somehow, we would be restored into glad hearts, and that comes to Jesus, who he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. It's interesting, this psalm is about the creator, we learn in the New Testament scripture that it's actually through Jesus that God created. He's the image of God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him, all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, the visible and the invisible, the rulers in the authorities, all things have been created through him and for him, for Jesus. In John 1, the writer of John says that nothing has come into being, that has come into being except through Jesus, through him. He's the creator, and he's the one that being created through is also the one through whom you and I can be recreated so that our hearts can be brought back from the dead and made alive again through his work on the cross. It's in Jesus then, that we find our rescue. And for every person who knows Jesus, our dead heart that wasn't beating and is now a live heart that is beating, and it's alive and can see these things. In the meantime, as we continue to grow and to become more like him, the end of the Bible says in Revelation 21 and 22, God says, I'm going to make all things new. So we're in this already/not yet time frame, where God has created, it's been broken by the sin of humanity. God is recreating through what He's done in Christ, we're being made more and more like him. And one of God's good gifts to us is that every morning his mercies and compassion are new, so we're made new creations, every day is a new and fresh start in the rhythmic way that God has designed things. And then in the end, all things will be made new, everything will be restored back to the way it was intended to be in Genesis 1 and 2. And for that, the psalmist offers praise.

Ross Sawyers: [00:51:10] One of the students at Faith Christian, Holly Walker, I saved hers for last. I love what she wrote, she said that she has found over the last, I don't know how long ago, oh, this year, she's just really seen God stabilize her and to trust his plan for her. And since she's done that and just trusted him, she's been happier, truly content, and more confident than she's ever been. That's what happens in Jesus when we find our stability in Him. But she said, I've tried to live my life for Christ at school by praying fervently for my friends that don't know Christ. It makes me sad that even in a Christian school, some of my friends are so far off from what we've grown up learning. I have their names written in my Bible, and I pray for them every night and while I'm going about my day. Oh, that's my prayer with Holly, that so many who have learned about Jesus that have not turned to him, their hearts would be grabbed by God, that there will be an awe and a wonder that God would substitute in, lay his life down for me, and I'd be so awestruck by that the only thing I can do is to surrender, believe, repent, yield, and follow. And when I see through those eyes, now I see all of His creation in a whole different way, and it's an awe and a wonder of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

Ross Sawyers: [00:53:01] I'd like for us to respond to God today in song, and Travis is going to lead us.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213