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Psalm 19

January 24, 2016


Finding God in Two Places; Three, If You Include Yourself

Maybe its just me and the choices that I make when Im viewing television, but
more and more of the programs that I watch seem to be spawning grounds for atheists.
These are not just people who say that there is no God, but many who once believed in
God but no longer think that there is a place in their world for such old-fashioned beliefs.
They pull out all of their scientific data for an alternative worldview. Crunching
numbers and using simple logic, they believe that we now have enough information to
explain the questions that religion once tried to answer; theology is no longer necessary.
For the frosting on the atheist cake, they argue that because people do bad things and
God doesnt stop them, there must not be a God. Why would a God of love allow such
things to happen?
Well, if they want to toss God aside because their only concept of God includes a
perfect world, I cant stop them. However, I believe that our ideas about Gods love
assumes that the world isnt perfect and never was perfect, but Jesus Christ came to
show us the power of forgiveness and the sacrifice that is a necessary part of real love.
I really want you to understand how important it is for all of us to worship God
regularly. This will require you to cut the cord from the media and Internet chatter that
would talk you out of spending time with God. I say this because the main trend that is
making our congregations older and smaller is not migration of members to other
churches, but the steady movement of Christians to inactivity and disinterest in all things
spiritual.
Whats really sad is the number of folks who quit God because of the church. I
have no way of knowing how many folks have used me as an excuse for leaving
church. I do try to make every effort to seek forgiveness when I have done something
wrong and to grow in compassion every year. But lets face it clergy can do terrible
things and people have every good reason to want to let go of an institution that
abuses them. I would not want anyone to stay in an abusive marriage or relationship.
But God is better and greater than anything. When all else fails, God still is God.
So lets spend a few minutes this morning delighting is Psalm 19, in which David
celebrates all of the ways God is actively making God known.
First of all, there is creation. Looking into the night sky, we can see the glory of
God. Recently two professors from Cal Tech reported that there are signs that indicate
the possibility of a ninth planet orbiting our Sun. Its between 20 and 100 billion miles
away from the sun and would take about 10,000 to 20,000 years for one orbit around
the sun. And it hasnt actually been discovered yet. But theyre pretty sure.
But who needs Planet X, when we have billions of stars and many galaxies
beyond our own? The sun and the moon are enough for David. There is no speech
yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

The animal kingdom is another of Gods wonders, and the human body is a
universe unto itself, with not only the ability of self-awareness and creativity, but with
thousands of microorganisms living inside each one of us, helping us process food, fight
off infections, and enjoy the senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
Growing up, my parents made sure that we not only went to church every week,
but also visited zoos, arboretums, theaters, and community festivals. The world is filled
with Gods creative presence; it should not be hard to see the wonder in life and all of
creation.
David next praises God for the Torah, Gods law.
We often see laws as the things that take away our freedom and our fun. But
David sees them as a gift from God to keep us on the right path.
Now that most of us use GPS devices to get from place to place, these systems
are getting better and better. One of my map programs now has the ability to
incorporate data received from traffic to route me around accidents and slowdowns.
Last summer, on our way to a wedding in Tennessee, there was a major accident on
one of the highways. We saved about fifty minutes of travel time by letting it route us an
alternate way, through neighborhood streets and unknown regions. But we made it to
the wedding without delay.
Gods law is designed to help us travel through life in a way that will help us not
only enjoy life to the fullest, but to grow in love and caring for others and for God. David
says that The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD
are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the
heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the
LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous
altogether.
Gods desire to lead us into a better life is the purpose of the law. Too often laws
are misused by us as a way to control others and limit their possibilities. Whenever we
treat the law of God this way, we are acting in ways that are contrary to Gods love and
will for our lives.
Finally, it comes down to us you and me.
Can people see God in us? Jesus shows us that Gods love can be shown in a
person. It is possible to see in Jesus the design and example of Gods love in our life.
David knew that he was a fallible, imperfect, human being. So he offers all of himself up
to God. He prays for God to help him stay away from bad influences and for God to be
working inside of him to clean up those hidden faults. He prays that his words and
thoughts might be found acceptable to God.
Nothing is gained arguing with atheists. The best that you can hope for in an
argument is to win the argument. But God is always God, regardless of how well we try
to defend God. God does not need our defense, but we need God. And we draw closer
to God when we worship God, when we pray to God and when we listen for God to
speak to us, through creation, through scriptures, and through other people. God is
here. God is at work. Open your heart, your mind, and your imagination to see the good
that comes when you choose to walk with God.