Psalm 94                              Do We Know This God?                            11/06/2016   ßà 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1       Lord, How Long? (Psalm 94:3, 58:3, 2Pet 3:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      Ye Fools, When Will Ye Be Wise? (Psalm 94:7-8, 53:1,3, Rom 3:12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.      Who Will Rise Up for Me? (Psalm 94:16-19)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to Psalm 94:1 (2X). You find the Psalms almost in the middle of your Bibles. God gave us this Psalm to make us stop,,,, and think,,,,: Do We Know This God? Therefore the title of this sermon is, Do We Know This God? (2X). This Psalm is a prayer by God’s saints for deliverance from their oppressors. To begin with, God dictated these words to one of His Saints, and then these words were prayed back to God. But these words ended up in the Bible, the One Book which declares in 2Pet 1:21, “This Is God Speaking”, and God is speaking to all mankind. And so, these words were not just for the children of Israel who at that time and space were oppressed by their enemies, but these words are for all times, because the Bible was written for all people and for all times and spaces. That is why we are considering now the words of this Psalm. The next thing we must ask ourselves is this: What did God say? What is the emphasis that God conveys in this Psalm? We can see two emphases: One aspect of this Psalm is that our God is a God of Vengeance. God defends His saints, and therefore He avenges the harm done to His saints. Do we know this God? But another aspect of this Psalm is that it is a message of comfort to all of God’s children, since it conveys the irresistible grace of God for all His elect people. Do we know this God? Let us read this P

Ps 94:1 ¶ O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. {God...: Heb. God of revenges} {shew...: Heb. shine forth}

Ps 94:2  Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

Ps 94:3-4  LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?          How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?

Ps 94:5  They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.

Ps 94:6  They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.

Ps 94:7  Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

Ps 94:8  Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?

Ps 94:9  He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

Ps 94:10-11  He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

Ps 94:12 ¶ Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

Ps 94:13-14  That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.         For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

Ps 94:15  But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. {shall follow...: Heb. shall be after it}

Ps 94:16-18  Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. {almost: or, quickly}      When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.

Ps 94:19  In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

Ps 94:20  Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?

Ps 94:21-22  They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.         But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

Ps 94:23  And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.

Can you see the grace of God shine through here in verse 12, and in verse 17, and in verse 19, and in verse 22? The Bible teaches that God’s grace is freely bestowed upon us, and it is a grace that is not frustrated, or obstructed, by Satan, or by any of us, or by any of the heathen. God’s grace is a Free Gift leading the ones on whom it is bestowed unmistakably to eternal glory with God. By definition Grace is unmerited favor. It is a gift that we did not and do not deserve for anything that we did, or for what we are going to do, or for any decisions we have made or are going to make. Therefore, since it is a totally free gift, it is God who decides whom to give it to. Therefore, God’s grace is given entirely “according to the good pleasure of His will”, as stated in Eph 1:5. Do we know this God? Let us now go back to the beginning of this Psalm and carefully look at these verses.

Everyone in the Bottomless Pit, pay attention. God says in verse 1,

Ps 94:1 ¶ O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. {God...: Heb. God of revenges} {shew...: Heb. shine forth}

And literally the Hebrew text says, “O God of revenges, Jehovah God of revenges, shine forth!” God declares here that He is a God of Revenges, or you can say: God the Avenger. Do we know this God? God must be our Avenger; we must not try to avenge ourselves; we do a poor job in that. You do not find this very often in your Bibles that God declares Himself to be an Avenger. What is the meaning of this word? Well, in Deut and in Josh God speaks about the “Avenger of Blood”, which is a person who takes revenge on a murderer for killing one of his close relatives. And therefore the Avenger of Blood is a close “Kinsman”. In fact, the word “Avenger” has the Strong’s Concordance number <1350>, and this word appears in your Bible 104 times, and out of these 104 times this word has been translated “Redeemer” or “Kinsman” 81 times. Who is our “Avenger”? Who is our Kinsman-Redeemer? Who avenges our blood? As you know, we came into the world as slaves of Sin and Satan, and enemies of God. As you know, we came into the world already dead in trespasses and sins, as Eph 2:1 and Psalm 58:3 declares. Who killed us spiritually? The Lord Jesus said in John 8:44, “The devil was a murderer from the beginning”, and according to the Bible this “beginning” refers to the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There Satan spiritually murdered all the descendants of Adam and Eve by tempting them into sin with his lies about God. But God promised an Avenger in Gen 3:15 and God sent the Avenger when He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth to avenge our blood on Satan. Do we know this God? The Lord Jesus Christ was our Avenger when He suffered and died for us on the cross at Calvary. At that cross He defeated Satan. And now we can understand why Christ is also called our Kinsman-Redeemer. He is our Kinsman and He is our Redeemer, as we read in Heb 2:17, and let me read this to you, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people”. We are His brethren, according to this verse, and therefore He is our Kinsman, and if on the cross He has made reconciliation for our sins then He also has become our Redeemer. The words Avenger, and Kinsman, and Redeemer, are all the same word. That is why this Psalm begins with the words, O God of revenges, Jehovah God of revenges, shine forth!” The Lord Jesus Christ has avenged us on Satan at the cross by substituting for us before the judgment throne of God, and God allowed that substitution. There He purchased the right to loose us from our bondage to Satan. Now Satan has no hold on us any more. There He purchased the right to set us free from blood-guiltiness of all our sins. Now we are clean in God’s sight. There He purchased the right to buy our freedom from the slave-market of Satan by paying our ransom, to the satisfaction of the righteousness of God. There He purchased the right to set us free from sin and from our enemies by condemning our enemies, so that their destiny is sure. There He purchased the right to destroy our enemy the devil and his host of fallen angels, and all humans who are on the side of the devil. That destruction does not mean annihilation, but it means that they will be removed into a place called Hell. Do we know this God? Let us now continue in Psalm 94 with verse 3. And now we have to answer five important questions:

#1       Lord, How Long? (Psalm 94:3, 58:3, 2Pet 3:9)

Ps 94:3, LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?

O Lord, how long must we wait until You will put an end to the shouts of joy from the wicked? Lord, how long is this condition of wickedness in the land going to continue? How much longer Lord? Well, according to the Bible, wickedness shall increase even unto the Last Day. The wicked shall be in the world as long as this sin-cursed earth exists. Do we desire that the wicked shall be cut off now? Then we should expect 90% of our closest family to be cast off in Hell. Is that what we want for them? Yes, who are the wicked? God says in Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies”. Let us be fair and realize that once we were counted among the wicked. “We were conceived and born in sin”. We too, at one time, belonged to the wicked of whom the Psalmist is lamenting. If at that time God would have put an end to this world, then we would be sent to Hell. Thus we must be a little more patient with the wicked. We must learn to live in the midst of wickedness without actually being part of it. We are in the world but not of the world. All those who are presently without Christ are called “ungodly” and “wicked”. How long is God going to be patient with the wicked? Only God knows when the end of the world will come. Do we understand that man without the grace of God is wicked? How long was God patient with us? God speaks about that in 2Pet 3:9. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle of 2Pet 3:9 (2X). You find 2nd Peter in your Bibles after 1st Peter, after Hebrews and after James. Remember the three names that were the inner circle around the Lord Jesus. The inner circle of Apostles was Peter, James and John. And although toward the end of your Bibles it is not the same James anymore, the same three names are found in the final epistles you find toward the end of your Bibles, but in this order: James, Peter and John. King Herod beheaded the Apostle James. The half-brother of the Lord Jesus was also called James, and he is the one from whom we have the Epistle of James. We read in 2Pet 3:9,

2Pe 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

This is a verse that has been wickedly taken out of context by many. We must keep in mind that the context speaks of the very end of time. We can see that in verses 7 and 10. And so, when we read verse 9 God is still addressing the end of time. We also must keep in mind whom God is addressing this Epistle. In 2Pet 3:1 God says that He is addressing it to the “beloved”, which means He is addressing it to all those who are His elect; God is addressing it to us. Again in verse 8 God addresses us as “beloved”. Therefore, paraphrased we can read verse 9 as follows, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise to us-ward, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance”. God is longsuffering to us-ward, not to the wicked, but to US who are His elect. Do we know this God? One time we belonged to that group who are called wicked, until God saved us. And God will hold back the end of time until the last of His elect has been saved. That is why He is longsuffering to us-ward.

Please turn again to Psalm 94:3 and see in what context these words are found. These are the actions of the wicked. These are the actions of the unsaved. In verse 2 they are proud, like their father the devil. In verse 4 they speak arrogantly, and they boast of themselves. They boast of their works, and believe that their works are pleasing in God’s sight. In verse 5 they “crush” the saints, who are Christ’s inheritance. How do they crush them? With persecutions? No! Persecutions have always been to the furtherance of the church. They afflict Christ’s heritage with false gospels. In verse 6 they murder those who have received mercy from God: the widows, the strangers and the fatherless. How do they murder them? No, not physically, because they believe that God looks on their works favorably. But they murder them with lies and false gospels. In verse 7 they say that God does not see sin in them and that God does not perceive what they are doing as evil. And so, we see that the wicked are self-deceived. They think, and speak, and act like Satan does, and they are not aware that their sins are accumulating the wrath of God upon them. “Everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes”. They will not learn from godly people, and they will not learn from the Bible. They are not teachable. But let us look now at ourselves. Are we in danger of being like them?

Are we wiling to listen to what God says in every corner of Scripture? You say: Yes I do! But are we able to hear? Are we aware that in every congregation only a fraction is able to hear the message spoken from the pulpit? I hope that in this congregation it is a sizeable fraction. Why are some people more able to hear than others? It does not depend on the age of the hearers, or how educated they are. Some children understand the message better than their parents. But only if God the Holy Spirit inclines our heart are we able to hear what was said from the pulpit, or are we able to understand what the Scriptures say. All others have already made up their minds. They hear the words, but they do not understand, nether do they believe what they heard. They have not been given the grace to believe. And so, this is the theme I want us to think about for the remainder of this sermon:

How does God the Holy Spirit bring the grace of God to us, in this life? And when we read in the Bible about the acts of God, and about the counsel of God, and about the providence of God, and about God’s decisions to bestow salvation on whom He will, and about God’s decisions to pass by all others on whom He does not bestow salvation, and about Heaven and Hell, and about many other things, do we have the willingness and the commitment to hear and believe all that we read in the Bible? It is only by grace that we are willing to hear, and it is only by grace that we can understand. So, how does God the Holy Spirit bring this grace of God to us? A tip of the veil is lifted up when we read verses 10 and 12. God says there in Psalm 94:10, “He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?” What is God doing with the heathen? God chastises the heathen for the purpose of correcting them in their error of serving other gods. God does not do that with everyone of the heathen, but God does that only with those of His elect who are still unconverted, who are still among the heathen. God teaches unsaved man the knowledge of God. We see that in the 2nd half of this verse. “He who chastises the nations” is also “He who teaches man knowledge”. This is not speaking about any ordinary knowledge, such as science. No! The knowledge that God teaches is the knowledge of Him; it is the knowledge that is far more important than any other knowledge, because it is a knowledge that leads to salvation. This is a wisdom that comes only by the grace of God. And how does this grace of God come to us? Through chastening. It is interesting that verse 12 shows the same truths in a slightly different form. God says in Psalm 94:12, “Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;” Some people assign these two verses to the process of sanctification. But let me point out again that God speaks in verse 10 about the heathen. The heathen are those who have not yet been saved, and thus sanctification is not the issue here. I like to take these two verses together because the wording in both verses is similar. Again the word “chasten” and the word “teach” appear very close together. Both verses use the same Hebrew words for “chasten” and for “teach”. God teaches His people, His elect, through chastening. And then the gift of the grace of God will affect His elect so that this chastening will have the result that the elect will turn to God. On the other hand, the chastening that falls upon the heathen whom God has passed by has no such effect. The heathen will curse the misfortune that has come upon them. They will bemoan their “bad luck”. They will indulge in self-pity, and all kinds of other things. But they will not turn to God, because they have not been given the grace to believe. Why should they turn to a God in whom they do not believe? And so we see that it is only by the grace of God that we are able to hear the message from the Bible of the Gospel of salvation. God must open our ears, and quite often God does that by breaking our pride. And then we are willing to accept that we know nothing, and that we still need to learn a great deal. We must learn to know God, the God of the Bible. Who is He? Do we know this God?

Allow me to give a brief example out of my own life. I will keep it very brief. In the Netherlands I studied hard until I received a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Then I accepted a job at the Research Center of Ford Motor Company, in Dearborn Michigan, which was one of the top 10 research laboratories in the country at that time. They gave me a desk and told me that I could work on anything I wanted. I could come and go whenever I wanted, even work in the middle of the night, if that is what I wanted to do. I had the world by the tail. But God was totally out of my life. Then Christ moved into my life. In 1970 my wife contracted a serious illness. I thought my world caved in. And then she asked if three people from the church could come and visit us. I agreed. And that is when I heard the Gospel for the first time, and I held a Bible in my hand for the first time. That is when God drew me to believe in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There was no one else to turn to. God used that chastening experience to draw me to the Lord Jesus Christ. Could God have used other means to draw me to Christ? Probably yes. But most of the time God uses chastening as His favorite tool to draw His people into His fold. And in the midst of chastening, God asks:

#2.      Ye Fools, When Will Ye Be Wise? (Psalm 94:7-8, 53:1,3, Rom 3:12)

We read in Psalm 94:8, “And ye fools, when will ye be wise?” Who are the “fools” in this verse? Please turn about 30 pages to your left, to Psalm 53:1 (2X). This is a remarkable Psalm, which God quoted in Rom 3. God says in Psalm 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, “There is no God”. An atheist is a fool, according to the Bible. Before I received my first Bible I was a fool. I was not an atheist, but in my life there was no place for God. He was crowded out by things that I loved more than God. Psalm 53 starts to describe those whom God calls fools. You might think that this Psalm only applies to a small fraction of the human race who fall in this category of fools. Is it not true that at any time in history, only a small fraction of the human race are devout atheists. But then we read in verse 3, “Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one”. And then God quoted verse 3 of this Psalm in Rom 3:12. God said in Rom 3:12, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one”. But in Rom 3 God applied this to the whole human race. The result therefore is that Psalm 53 is not limited to just a fraction of the human race who are called “fools”. No! Psalm 53 also applies to the whole human race. The whole human race is called “fools”. We all came into the world as if saying, “There is no God”, and so “there was no fear of God before our eyes”. The interaction between Psalm 53 and Rom 3 lets us see another aspect of the depravity of man before salvation. Let us now return to Psalm 94:7 (2X). There in verse 7 we read, “The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it”. What do people mean by that? If God’s name is mentioned, then God’s omniscience is implied. No one is so dumb to think that God shall not see. But instead, people think that they can get away with sin. They begin to have a different picture of God. God is love! God does not mind! Jesus will forgive me anyway. These are the beginnings of false gospels. They think that God does not mind, because their focus is entirely on the love of God and on the goodness of God who is not willing that anyone should perish. But is this really so? Does God mean what He says? Achan thought that he could get away with stealing some materials out of Jericho. But God killed him by the hands of the children of Israel. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, thought that they could get away with offering inferior incense to God. But fire from the Lord devoured them, and they died instantly. Ananias and Sapphira thought they could get away with it, lying to the church. But God struck them dead before they could answer Peter’s question. These were people who had no time for repentance. We expect to see them standing before the judgment throne of God on the Last Day and they will be cast into Hell. We too must be on our guard. We too can lose our life in an instant, through an accident, or in an earthquake, or through other causes of instant death.

 “The question of verse 8, “Ye fools, when will ye be wise?” can now be answered. For people who will never be saved the answer is: NEVER! They will never receive the wisdom unto salvation, because only by the grace of God can we become wise. How does that grace of God come to us?

We read in Psalm 94:12-15,

Ps 94:12 ¶ Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

Ps 94:13-14  That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.         For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

Ps 94:15  But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.

God teaches us wisdom out of His Law, which means not out of the 10 Commandments, but out of the Bible. The Law is more than the 10 Commandments. The Law is the whole Bible. And the result is that we shall be called “Blessed”. It means that through God’s teaching we shall be saved, and we shall have “rest from the days of adversity”. It is a promise of the rest we have in Christ after being at war with God. That is a rest we have in this world. And what is the pit that is digged for the wicked? Is that a pit in the ground? No! It refers to the removal of all the wicked into Hell. But this will not occur until the Last Day. In the meantime we will have rest, “For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance”. We have rest in this world because we are at peace with God. We have rest in this world because we are not part of the turmoil in this world. The turmoil of the presidential elections, and the turmoil of the war in Iraq, and the turmoil of the hunt for terrorists are storms in a teapot compared with the blessed rest we have in Christ. God will not forsake any of His elect. We may endure chastening for a while, because chastening of the elect leads unto glory. But the Lord Jesus Christ has promised in Heb 13:5-6, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me”. And then we read in Psalm 94:15, “But judgment shall turn unto righteousness”. Which judgment shall turn to righteousness? It refers to the judgment on the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. For whom did the Lord Jesus suffer and die on the cross? Look at the words of verse 15. “All the upright in heart shall follow it”. Who are the upright in heart, because they are the only ones for whom judgment at the cross has turned to righteousness. When God said in Rom 3:10, “There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE”, God meant what He said. Then, if God speaks here in Psalm 94:15 about the upright in heart, it can only mean that God has changed their heart from being unrighteous to being upright in heart. By God’s grace, on the basis of Christ’s atonement for our sins, God has changed our heart from one that is all vanity to one that is pleasing to God, from one that is at enmity against God to one that is at peace with God. Do we know this God? And now the last question:

#3.      Who Will Rise Up for Me? (Psalm 94:16-19)

Ps 94:16, Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?      

The answer is: the Lord Jesus Christ shall fight my battles. This is a fundamental principle. When Adam sinned against God, Adam messed up his relationship with God. But Adam was not able to fix it, and neither is any of his descendants able to fix it. God is the only one who can fix it. God sent the Lord Jesus Christ to do battle for us. He has been appointed to rise up for us against the evildoers. He has been appointed to be our Avenger, our Kinsman, and our Redeemer. Do we know this God? No one else is able to stand against Satan and his host of fallen angels. Don’t let anyone fool you by claiming that he can exorcise demons. No one can cast out demons. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can do this. God says in Psalm 94:17-18,

Ps 94:17, Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.

Ps 94:18, When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.

If it was not for the grace of God, my soul would have dwelt in the silence of the grave, and ready for condemnation in Hell. The silence of the grave is a terrible place to be. It means that I would not be in the presence of the Lord with all the saints, but I would be in the presence of all the reprobate waiting for the condemnation of the Last Day. And when “My foot slippeth”, it means when I am aware that I have sinned, God’s mercy shall uphold me. Mercy is not like grace. Grace means receiving a gift that I do not deserve. Mercy means God is withholding something that I do deserve. What do I deserve? I deserve to go to Hell; that is the penalty for my sin. God’s mercy is that He withholds Hell from me. I do not have to go to Hell because the Lord Jesus Christ paid the equivalent of eternal Hell in my place, and God does not require that the penalty be paid twice. When the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for my sins, He paid for all my past sins and all my future sins. Future sins? Does that not make people careless sinners all the time? No! We must not underestimate the grace of God. God’s grace is able to turn us from sinners into saints. And that means we will have an aversion to sin. Remember, at the time that He died all my sins were still future sins. And so, when we see the word “mercy” we should think of the cross of Christ and the blood of Christ. Whether I am saved or not does not depend on how guilty I feel, it does not depend on how insecure I feel, it does not depend on my lack of assurance. God does not save me based on how I feel, or based on what I know. God saves me based on the blood of Christ, or the suffering and death of Christ. Has Christ shed His blood for me? That is the real question. And if He did, then He also has given me the faith to believe it. If I have that faith then I am safe and secure in His hands, and no one can snatch me out of His hands. Therefore, God says in verse 19, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul”. Although within me are a multitude of thoughts, some coherent and some incoherent thoughts, the assurance of God’s promises delight my soul. His Word is sure. And therefore, I am eternally grateful that God made His grace known to me.

That is why in a few moments we are going to sing, “I know not why God’s wondrous grace He has made known”. And He has made it known to me, an unworthy sinner whom He delighted to lift up from the dunghill and place among princes, called sons of God. Do we know this God, this merciful God, full of grace and truth?

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.