Differing Perspectives in Power

Psalm 67 Explores The Power And Presence of God.

Matt Stokes
Oct 4, 2020    47m
Have you ever felt alone and weak? By examining the powerful words of Psalm 67 and 68 this message gives us a moving picture of the eternal power, presence, mercy, and grace of God in action with His people. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matt Stokes: 00:00 The Book of Psalms is the compilation of songs written by several people in ancient Israel. The original intention was for the book of Psalms to be a worship book for the Hebrews. The time of its writing spans over a thousand years, it began during the Egyptian captivity and lasted all the way up to, and even into, the Babylonian captivity. Israel's King David is the main author, but there are contributions from Moses, Solomon Asaph, and others. These words of joyful praise and heavy hearts are still read by millions and millions around the world and throughout the ages, because these words capture the passion and emotion we still feel today. And in all of that expression of humanity, there's also majestic descriptions of God's divinity. So join us as we read the book of Psalms, and as you read, see if you can feel the heart of the writer, as well as hear the voice of the Savior.

Matt Stokes: 00:57 So last week we were in Psalm 66, and you were so encouraging to me with what you said about what you're receiving, just from the simplicity of the scriptures, just being taught from this stool. So I thought before we get into the next book, now that we've come out of Romans, just for a little bit of just to clean the palate, if you will, before we get into another book. We did 65 chapters of Psalms a few years ago, and I thought someday, I've got to finish this book. So I thought, let me do a few more Psalms together, and then eventually we'll pop back out of Psalms very soon and get into another book and go verse by verse. But I thought we'd pick up and continue to do a few more chapters of Psalms as we prepare, Matthew and I, prepare for the books we're going to be getting into. Matthew, getting into his book after he's getting through First, Second and Third John, and then me getting into another book of the Bible to go verse by verse after getting out of Revelation.

Matt Stokes: 01:55 So if you're with me, turn in your Bibles to Psalm 67, because that's where we're going to be, Psalm 67. Hopefully you have your Bible app, if you have your app, you can open it right there. Hopefully you're bringing your Bible, because I'd love for you to write right into your Bible. My favorite is that four colored marker, red, green, black, and blue, and I can just circle things and underline them and just make a whole map on my page of thoughts that I see and connecting concepts together, I would love for you to do the same. So we're going to do Psalm 67 and then we're going to try to move into some of Psalm 68, and we're just going to see how far we get, okay. So I have an audio version of Psalm 67, sometimes it's interesting to hear the public reading of scripture and hear the chapter in its totality, and then we'll go back and visit it. So with your Bibles open to Psalm 67, I want you to listen to this and then we'll get into the book.

Unknown: 02:55 Psalm 67, God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him."

Matt Stokes: 03:41 Psalm 67 starts off by saying, "To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song." I just think that sounds like a pretty intense word, doesn't it? It sounds like an ancient, like scary creature, doesn't it? Bring out the Neginoth, really, it's just a musical instrument back then they called the Neginoth, it was a stringed instrument. And so a lot of times when you see a Psalm, the Psalmist will actually say, this was the instrument of which I was envisioning this song will be played on, and it actually gets written into inspired scripture. It's still with us, the instrument on which it was played. And this particular time, it was called a Neginoth, which was a stringed instrument.

Matt Stokes: 04:19 So look with me at these opening verses "God be merciful unto, us and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us." So right away, the Psalmist is immediately sensing his sinfulness before God. What's really interesting is, is not only is he sensing his sinfulness, but he's also sensing God's mercy, and it's integrating with God's supremacy, and God's love for him. So he's calling upon God because he knows this is what he needs from almighty God, he needs his mercy, he needs him to be blessed, he needs the blessing of God.

Matt Stokes: 05:00 And then he says, "Cause his face to shine upon us." And you may have heard that before, it's a similar phrase that's used back in the Old Testament as well, in Deuteronomy, Numbers. This is what it means, in ancient times... I just watched, last night I just watched Lord of the Rings with my youngest daughter. And in those movies, there's a lot of scenes where there's, you know, in middle earth where they come into the court of the king. And you might remember the story of Esther when she had to appear before the King, and she was worried in her heart. Because when you appear before a king, if his countenance, which is just the shining, the positivity on his face, if it does not shine upon you, you're dead. And the reason that the court of the king is lined with soldiers is because if the king did not find favor with you, they killed you. So that's the language here, is that there's this great and mighty King, and his name is God. And he's saying, God, be merciful unto me and bless me. And when I come into your court, when I come into your presence, would you cause your face, would you lift up your countenance upon me and show grace to me? Because that's what he was longing for. So really what you're having here, even if you want to write it in your margin right next to it, it's graciousness. He's looking for God's mercy, he's looking for God's blessing, and he's looking for God's graciousness.

Matt Stokes: 06:26 Now, if you haven't heard this before, this is also an interesting thing, if you want to write this down in your margin, and interesting definition. What's the difference between grace and mercy? We always taught this when we were in university, it's really simple, there's a converse relationship to the two. Mercy is when you don't get what you do deserve, grace is when you get what you don't deserve. Does that make sense? So if I should be punished and I deserve that, but I don't get punished, what is that? That's mercy. "The King was merciful unto me." But if I didn't deserve anything, but I came into his courtroom and he found favor upon me and gave me riches, what's that called? It's called grace, he's being gracious to me. Excuse me, John, would you be as gracious as to pick up that pencil for me? It's like, I really don't, I don't deserve it, but if he picked it up for me, he'd be gracious enough to do that. That's the idea, I'm getting something I don't deserve. Mercy is when you don't get what you do deserve. And so this author, this author of this Psalm, he's crying out for both. God, I need both from you, I need your grace, I need your mercy, and I need your blessing. Like what a way to start off the day, is to ask for the grace, and the mercy, and the blessing, of God upon your life.

Matt Stokes: 07:44 And the next sentence starts with the word that, that. That is an interesting word, that, means with a view to, or in order to, or so that, right? So this is the reason behind verse one, is found in verse two. Watch this, this fascinating word, that. "That thy way may be known upon the earth, thy saving power among all nations." God, if you're a gracious to me, if you're merciful to me, if you bless me, do you know what's going to happen? Your way is going to be known on the earth, and your saving power is going to be known to the nations. So notice there's this interesting contrast, right? Going on between the individual, the writer, and the nations. Always going back and forth in this Psalm, interesting, between himself, the people of God, and the nations. And he's saying, if you're gracious, and you're merciful, and you bless me, your way is going to be known.

Matt Stokes: 08:46 David says in Psalm 25, "Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths." It says that in the scriptures, it says that the people of Israel knew the works of the Lord, but Moses knew the ways of the Lord. So there's something about the ways of the Lord that are much more intimate, "Who is the one that fearth the Lord? To him, he shall show his way." Hey, I don't know what the way is, but it's mysterious, it's a mysterious word. But God has a way and all I know is this, I want to be in that way, I don't want to be in any other way. Oh, sorry, did I get in your way? I'm sorry, I don't want to be anybody else's lane, I want to be in the way that God is leading me.

Matt Stokes: 09:33 Even when Isaac was looking for a bride, he sent a servant to go look for a bride for him. Most of us know that it ended up being Rebecca, he found her by a well. But he rejoiced, and he said, I being in the way, I believe it's Genesis 25, I being in the way the Lord led me. I want to be in the way of God. Do you know how that happen? By crying out for his blessing, crying out for his grace, and crying out for his mercy. Here's what's going to happen, I'm going to find myself in the way of God and his saving power is going to be known to who? All nations. Somehow, when people watch me, under the blessing, grace and mercy of God, walking in the way of God, guess what that does? It declares to the world, the saving power of God. This could almost be, everyone, this could almost be like right out of the New Testament, talking about a genuine, authentic believer who's living in victory and obedience, and is under the, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, following him. And by that, the world will know the way of God and the saving power of God.

Matt Stokes: 10:44 Fascinating, verse 3, He says, "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee." Notice, and if you want to write it down, notice how praise is connected to grace, mercy, and blessing and making God's way known, also praise now is integrated with that. You've got to be a worshiper, you know, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth shall speak. The more you know about God, the more you just want to lift up praise to God. And I meet some people that say they're not really interested in worship, I'm not that musical. Well, God loves music, God loves to be worshiped, and the way that he prescribed to be worshiped is with song. He could have made us throw rocks up in the air and chant Alibaba, but that's not what he said to do. He said, when you worship me, I want you to sing praises unto me, I want you to sing songs unto me. So you see that woven all throughout the Psalms, "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee."

Matt Stokes: 11:41 Verse 4, "O let the nations..." Here we are again, "The nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people (here's the word) righteously, and govern the nations upon earth." So the praise has a certain look to it, doesn't it? It says that the praise watch, verse 4, because I have these two words circled, be glad and sing for joy. God wants your praise to be, he wants it to look like gladness, and he wants to look joyful. And how many of us, when we come into the sanctuary and it's like this song time, and sometimes we're just waiting for the song time to get over, to get to the word time. And God's like, no, I want your praise to be filled with gladness, I want your praise to be filled with joy, so that the unbelieving world can see your glad heart and your joyful heart, and see what it's like to be a genuine, authentic believer and follower of him. And here's the reason, again, look at this, " "For" Here's why we should be glad, here's why we should sing, here's why we should be joyful. Listen to this, "For thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth."

Matt Stokes: 13:01 Can you pause and give me your attention just for a minute, the Israelites were surrounded by some pretty sick people. Okay? The Hittites, the Amorites, the Amalekites, the Philistines, listen, those nations did not have governance. Anything goes, people killed people, there was no policing system. But the Israelites, do you know what they had? They had a God, his name was Yahweh, and that God gave them laws, and those laws were righteous, and those laws were Holy, and those laws were just. So when these nations around them that did unspeakable things to innocent children, and to each other, and even to their enemies, God had laws prescribed as to how Israel should live. So when they saw this, they said we should rejoice, and sing, and be glad because we have a God who judges rightly, who executes justice. This was a revolutionary thought to the lost world around them, that they would have a God such a God as this, that actually had righteous laws by which the people were judged. And for that reason alone, he governs the nations of the earth, that is amazing. And you know what? According to this, God honors nations that follow his ways, that follow his laws. And of course, there's probably a lot of great application right there in the context of that, of which we could get into right now. But God honors and the nations, guess what the nations do when they see this, guess what the nations do, they take notice of it and they praise God. Do you see that? Other nations take notice of it, and they praise God.

Matt Stokes: 14:48 In verse 5 he says the same thing he said in verse 3, "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee." And then here comes another causality, "Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." So here's the result of what's going to happen, he says the earth will yield her increase. Now in those days, God prescribed blessing upon the people according to their obedience, in very physical ways, he blessed their abundance, he blessed their crops, he blessed their children, he brought them prosperity if they walked in his ways. So he says, if you do these things, here's what's going to happen, it actually says that the earth is going to yield her increase. You're actually going to see a difference in the way that the world is actually operating agriculturally, it's actually going to yield it's increase, your crops are going to grow, agriculture is going to flourish. Fascinating.

Matt Stokes: 15:51 And the scriptures go on and also tell us, that what you see happening in the life of Israel nationally, physically is reflective of what happens in the life of the believer spiritually. So like when I read this, I would then ask myself as much as I would want you to ask yourself, where do you want? Where are you longing for God to yield increase in your life? Where are you looking for God to yield increase in your life? Of course, a lot of us would say probably something on the monetary level, but you know, after this week and after, after losing Kevin this past week, I mean, isn't what we're really looking for is for God to yield in our lives, his presence? To bring forth peace in our lives, to bring forth comfort in our lives, to bring forth confidence in the hope of heaven, an increase in the understanding of what happened on the cross and the empty tomb, and what happened in the atonement, and how God turned the whole world around, back into a right relationship with himself. That's what I want to know, that's the increase that I'm looking for. Because physical increase comes and goes, but the things of which the believer is looking to and longing for these things are infinite, these things are eternal, they will yield their increase.

Matt Stokes: 17:11 It says even our own God shall bless us, and that's another thing that was fascinating about Israel is, hey, guess what? They had their own God. Like in the other lands, in the pagan lands, and the lost people, they had statues that were made of wood and stone and metal, and you could stick them in a duffel bag and take them wherever you go. And I could borrow your God if I needed something, if I needed my crops to grow, and you could borrow my God if you wanted your family to grow and prosper, and we would just switch God. Not the Israelites, they had one God, he was one God, and he went whereever they went. He wasn't relegated just to the land of the Philistia, he wasn't just relegated right to the land of Amman or Edam. No, God went with his people wherever they went. They say, God, even our God, what? Even our God shall bless us. And watch the last verse, watch this, "God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." The word fear means, and if you don't have it, write it into your Bible. The word fear in the Bible means, awesome, reverential, wonder. Boom, right? Like your mind is blown with the awesomeness of God.

Matt Stokes: 18:29 So let's sum it up, and what we're really looking at is this. When we praise God, and we cry out and we experience his mercy and his blessing, and we experience his grace, and then we actually start to walk in the ways of God, and the world, the unsaved lost world starts to notice the saving power of God, what happens? It says here that the result is, that there's an awesome reverential wonder of God's power in the earth. All the earth shall fear him, isn't that beautiful. There's going to come a day where all of this is going to come to fruition, it's all coming to reality. And again, what's happening here with Israel, it's just a mere shadow of what it will be, and what we shall see, as we approach the last days and the fullness of all that Christ has said in the gospels, and that God has said in his word.

Matt Stokes: 19:25 Does anybody else find this little Psalm with seven verses as amazing as I do? I mean, this little Psalm 67, you could pull that right out of the New Testament. This could be like the great commission for a missionary who you're sending forth into the world, so that they know, like Kaitlyn, that as she goes to this place, I don't know if you see the joy in her face as close up as I do, but she's filled with joy. I mean, it's hard to close your eyes and picture Kaitlyn Terry without a smile on her face, she's filled with the joy of the Lord. And she does the work of the Lord, and she walks in the way the Lord. And guess what, she goes to the unsaved, lost people of the world and because of her testimony, and because of God's work through her, people find Christ. What about you? Going to the cashier, the checkout line, driving over the Causeway and how you're treating other people in traffic in the summertime, like how we treat the lost world, and how they see us living and moving and having our being in God, particularly Christ in us, has everything to do with them finding him, finding themselves in this place, and surrendering their lives to the savior.

Matt Stokes: 20:43 So with that said, let's take a look at Psalm 68, and we're going to do the same. I want you to just listen, I don't think we've got a whole lot of time left. So we're just going to listen to the first several verses, and then we'll try to unpack them together.

Unknown: 20:58 Psalm 68, "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah: The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil."

Matt Stokes: 22:30 So as we move into Psalm 68, watch this now, as we begin, to set some context for you. You're looking at a proclamation of God's power from different perspectives, because usually when you think of power, like you think of something physical, right? But you see God has power from all kinds of different perspectives, not only the attributes of his power, but the power in the perspective of the person. Like, there's a way that I see God's power, listen to this, there's a way that I see God's power like working in me. And then there's a way that God's power works in you, it's different than the way God's power works in me. And then there's a way that God's power works in the way that you see me and the way I see you, like that's a different kind of power. Then there's a power in the way that God works when your community or your family is watching you. Or how about the way, the perspective of God's power when as we just discussed in that last Psalm, when the unseen lost world who doesn't see God, sees you, there's a power in that as well. So there's all different perspectives of God's power that you're seeing throughout the Psalm.

Matt Stokes: 23:41 This Psalm is 35 verses long, so we're probably not to be able to finish it, but let's like take a few bites out of it and see if you see what I see when it comes to the various perspectives of God's power. First of all, it says this, in the King James, "Let God arise, and his enemies be scattered." So, let God arise, is just such a cool thought, Isn't it? Because isn't that what you want God to do, is just arise? God arise. I mean, you may have heard Matthew say this, I've heard him say it more than once. There's a quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who they call the Prince of preachers, and he was asked, how do you defend the gospel? And he said, "I don't defend the gospel. The way you defend the gospel is this, you just take the pin..." He said, "I defend the gospel the way I defend a lion, I just take the pin out of the cage." Right? Because the gospel in itself is powerful, right, and it saves. I'm not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God unto salvation. So when it comes to the lion, all you gotta do is arise, just let it out of the cage. Don't you want God to arise in your life? Like, I don't know where you are in your life right now, I know where I am. And like, sometimes you just cry out, you're like, God, show up, I just want you to show up in whatever unknowns you're in, whatever confusion you're in, depression, anxiety you're in, frustrations, you're in, the angst of everyday life, a pandemic year. You're like, God show up, arise, scatter your enemies, anything opposed to you, obliterate it.

Matt Stokes: 25:31 When I was younger, I used to watch Johnny Socko and his flying robot. It was a TV show, and the name of the TV show was Johnny Socko and His Flying Robot. And man, it was just the coolest thing, it was one of those Japanese shows similar to like a Godzilla type story. And Johnny was this little boy, and he had a watch, and believe it or not, there was once a time when people thought that we would talk to our watches. Would you believe that, 1970s? And anytime, like it looked like the world was going to end because some creature came out of the sea and was about to just wreak havoc over Japan, Johnny would talk to his watch and this flying robot would just come out of nowhere, it would listen, it would arise. And like the jet feet would just land down on the ground, and he would shoot these missiles out of his hand and like obliterate the enemy. Does anybody remember Johnny Socko? Okay, four of you, that show was awesome. Right? I would not miss Johnny Socko, like let little boy does not want to have his own flying robot that he commands from his watch. Right?

Matt Stokes: 26:41 But do you know what we have? We have an God who longs, according to Chronicles, he longs to show himself strong on your behalf. He longs to arise and show himself strong on your behalf. And here the writer of this Psalm cries out for God to arise and just scatter his enemies, obliterate his enemies. He says, I want you to just obliterate them, the same way that that smoke just vanishes in the wind. I want you to annihilate the enemy the way that wax melts in a fire. It's very, very strong metaphorical language because we've all seen the way that smoke just disappears, we've all seen wax or just a small piece of paper as it goes into a fire, just be incinerated. And he's saying, God, I want you to do that to anything that's opposing you. So like in your life right now, listen for the application. Like what is the enemy that you're wishing that God would arise and destroy? Would it be your anger, is it your unforgiveness towards someone that maybe you've had for years? Is it your struggle with addiction and some bondage that you're looking for God to break? And you're like, oh God just arise and obliterate this, scatter this, just let it go away the way that smoke just dissipates into the air. Maybe it's your marriage, and the way that it's just deconstructing and slowly disintegrating, and your children are feeling it. Whether they live at home or not, they can sense it. And you're saying, God, I need you to come into the midst of this, and I need you to rise up. "Rise up God, as smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish." Now please circle this phrase, "At the presence of God." Okay?

Matt Stokes: 28:33 The context, everyone, in which this is happening, the context in which this is happening is in the presence of God. So this doesn't happen any other way, he's saying the way that this happens, is when we are in the presence of God. So don't expect, or don't intend, for these things to happen, the restoration of marriage, the bondage breaking of addiction, or whatever, the freedom from depression, don't expect these things to happen on a spiritual level, apart from being in the presence of God. Because according to the scriptures, that's where this happens, that's where God does the work. Now, you could do the work through some self-help book, and maybe a counselor, and some YouTube, and I love all those things. I've got plenty of self-help books, and I watch loads of YouTube, I've got nothing against any of that. But what I am trying to say is within the context of God, if you want God to be your deliverer, if you want God to be your rescuer, if you want God to be the destroyer, of whatever that is in your life that needs to be deconstructed and obliterated, you've got to be, you've got to be, you've got to be in the presence of God.

Matt Stokes: 29:42 Now watch verse 3, "But..." Here he draws a contrast, but, is a contrast, but yet, nevertheless, however, not withstanding, here's the opposite. "But let the righteous be glad; and let them rejoice..." Here it is again, if you've got your pen, please circle this. "...before God." It's one thing just to be excited about going to Great Adventure, or you're on the top of Space Mountain, or you're going to your favorite hoagie place. He's saying here, rejoice, and get excited, and be glad before God. And so what I do, is I circled the word 'presence of God', and then I circle the word 'before God' in the context of it, and I drew a line between the two of them. Because there's a pattern going on within this Psalm about seeing God from different perspectives, and also being in his presence. Being in God's presence, isn't that what it's really all about? Where do you want to be today? I mean, if it was a nice warm day, would you want to be on the beach? Would you want to be with your kids? Would you want to be with your grandkids? Would you want to be with your wife on the boardwalk or at a beautiful restaurant? I'm saying that there is no better place to be, than in the presence of God, and I hope I'm there with my wife, I'm hope I'm there with my kids, I hope I'm there on a sunny day on the beach with my family. But more than anything else, I want to be in the presence of God, because he gave his one and only son, Jesus Christ, and he shed his blood and died a brutal, terrible, murderous death, and rose again, for the purpose of me being able to be in his presence. That's powerful, that's a powerful thought.

Matt Stokes: 31:27 And not just today, but every day. And not just every day, but right into eternity. I'm telling you right now, if you're looking at me, I'm telling you the truth. The day I close my eyes for the final time, the day I heave my lung and exhale my last breath, the day my heart beats its last pump of blood, I will never cease to be in the presence of God. I'll always be in the presence of God. This, in Second Corinthians 5 says, "This earthly tabernacle, this earthly dwelling place will fall, it will fail. But God will give me another, not made with the hands of men, but made with the hands of God." Second Corinthians chapter 5, "But the one thing is true, he said, I am absolutely certain that when I am absent from this body, I am listen, present, present, present with the Lord." I never escape his presence, his presence is always with me.

Matt Stokes: 32:23 Psalm 139, "Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you're there. If I make my bed in the depths of hell, you're there. If I ride on the wings of the Dawn to the other side of the sea, even there, your hand will guide me, your arm will hold me tightly. " That's powerful. David, Psalm 139, this is David like meditating on what it really means to always be in the presence of God. I hope that sinks in deep for you today, the way that it's sneaking in deep for me.

Matt Stokes: 32:56 Verse 3 says, "Let them rejoice before God." And then King James, it says, "Yea, let them exceedingly rejoice." Like he's writing with his pen on the parchment, nd he says, let them rejoice in the presence of God. No, no, no, no, Yeah, let them really rejoice, right, like it's just not enough to say let them rejoice. He's got to write it again, "Oh, let them really rejoice." It reminds me of Paul, right, when he says in Philippians, "Rejoice in the Lord always." And you know what? I'm going to say it again, rejoice. So as little kids, we learned this song, "Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again, I say rejoice." Right? Because there's something about rejoice, like no, no really rejoice. We've got something we can really get excited about. I'm watching television and people are getting excited about Coca Cola as they dance around, and Ronald and the hamburgers. I'm like, there's something more to get excited about on the earth than anything else, and that is the presence of God in my life.

Matt Stokes: 33:54 And he goes on and says it again, look at verse 4, "Sing unto God." Okay, ho? Well, "Sing praises to his name, extol him." That means like lift him up, " Him that rideth upon the heavens, his name..." And in the King James, it's Jah, it's Jah. Jah, everyone say with me, Jah. Say it loud, Jah. I can't help but wonder if like the Israelites, like when they were going for battle, if they had their spears and they were all like Jah, Jah, Jah, Jah, Jah, Jah, Jah, Jah Jah. Like if I'm the enemy, I'm going to be starting to get pretty scared at this point, right? If you hear a 30,000 Israelites with their spears and their screaming, Jah, and they're hitting the ground like that, thunderous hit. That's the word for God, it's the abbreviation of what we all know as Jehovah, right? Jah means God, just like Elijah, the name Elijah means, the Lord is my God. Of course Adonai is God, Adonijah, have you ever heard of the name Adonijah, in the books of Samuel, that also means the Lord is God. Most of us are familiar with Joshua, most of us changed the syllable and the accent to Joshua, but that's actually the Americanized version of the name Jesus. Joshua, Joshua, right, Jehovah is salvation. So, "Sing unto him, sing unto his name, because he ride on the heavens and his name is Jah." He rides on the heavens, listen to this, Kings road on highways, but great Kings road on great highways. We've seen some of these highways, the Via Del Moray, the Kings Highway, the Trans-Jordan. If you go over above Mount Herman, you can look down on some of these beautiful highways that go around the Euphrates and through the Rift Valley on the edge, great Kings would ride these highways. Guess what? Not God. The King of Kings, that King rides, he doesn't ride those highways, he rides on the heavens, right? So when you read this, if you're a Hebrew reader and you see this, it's like, wow, God, he doesn't ride on the Kings highway in Israel, he rides upon the heavens and his name is Jah. And it says that we should rejoice in his name. And that tells you something about when you...By the way, when that means to rejoice in his name, that means to rejoice in who he is. So if I was from Uganda and I came to you and I said, I come to you in the name of the King of Uganda, right? What does that mean? It means I come as his representation. I come for the King and all he stands for, I come in his character, I come in his essence, I come in his nature, I come in his reputation. So when it says, sing unto his name, we're saying sing under the characters of God, the nature of God, the essence of God, all that God is, all that God's done.

Matt Stokes: 36:51 And then he goes on for a few verses, and we'll have to close quickly. But look, he goes onto a few verses and tells you what that means, "Rejoice before him, a father to the fatherless, a judge of the widows, is God in his Holy habitation. " There's another hint, guys, take a look at verse 4 where it ends with the two words before him, that means in his presence. And then verse 5, it talks about his Holy habitation, again, his presence. You have his presence in verse 3, you have his presence in verse 3, you have his presence in verse 4, you have his presence in verse 5, is anybody seeing a pattern here?

Unknown: 37:35 Yes.

Matt Stokes: 37:35 Thank you. "He setteth the solitary in families." In other words, what that really means in the King James, the solitary, is the lonely person. He sets the lonely person into a family, he brings them into fellowship. "He bringeth out those which are bound with chains, but the rebellious dwell in dry and weary land." So his name is Jah. He's Jah, listen he's Jah the father in verse in verse 4, he's Jah the judge in verse 5, both of those are 5. He's Jah the Holy inhabiter. He's Jah the provider, when he provides for the lonely. He's Jah, the deliver, when he brings people out from being bound in chains. This is your God, these are his names. Who is he to you? Jah, the restorer of your marriage? Jah, the breaker of addiction? Jah, the God of my salvation? Who is He to you? And then another question would be, who do you Jah the what? d him to be today in your life? This King who rides upon the heavens, and is coming to you, and his name is Jah the what? What, I mean only you know, for as many people coming through these gatherings today, God may have a different name.

Matt Stokes: 39:02 I know the last one is in pleasant, it says, "But the rebellious dwell in a dry land." Do you know what it's like to be spiritually dehydrated? I mean, have you ever been dehydrated? I mean, if anyone here has ever really been dehydrated, you feel like you're going to die. You think, oh my, I'm going to die. And he says, the ungodly, the rebellious, no, they're in a dry land, they're spiritually dehydrated. It's like the opposite of all these things, he's putting lonely people into families, he's breaking people out of bondage and setting them free. He's taking the widows who were like the lowest people of life then, because they had no lineage, they had no legacy, they had no heritage. And he's saying, I'm going to be a judge for them, I'm going to help them. Right, powerful who he is, I'm going to be a father to the fatherless.

Matt Stokes: 39:51 Last passage, 7 says, "O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness. The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the..." What? Can you circle this? "...presence of God" "Even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor." Really interesting. So it says in verse 7, that God went before his people. And this is another place for me, this is another place of application, like where do you need God to go before you? You know, have you ever see a movie where somebody, there's like a group of people and they're all scared, and it's like, I'm not going to go first. Like, you go first. No, I'm not going first, you go first. You go first. You go first. Like, and it's kind of like a funny show, I don't know what it meant. But like somebody has to go before, somebody has to lead the way, somebody has to go out in front, and we all know that that's the scariest place to be. But it says, we have a God that goes before us. What a wonderful thought I have today, as I leave this place, to know that wherever I go, into whatever unknowns I'm about to step, into whatever chaos, calamity or confusion might be coming my way, my God goes, guess where he goes, he goes before me. He's not behind me, he's before me.

Matt Stokes: 41:23 The scriptures give God different proximity in different places, right? Like you have the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit in the Greek is Paraclete, that means he's alongside of us. The Holy Spirit's alongside of us, para means alongside, clete means to call. He's calling out to us, he's counseling and comforting us alongside of us. But here it says Christ, Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians says, Christ is within us. Here it says, that God goes before us. So even when they were in the wilderness, listen closely, even when they were in the wilderness being punished because they doubted God and then didn't enter into the promised land. Can you take this as an encouragement? Even when God was disciplining them, he still went before them. He's like, I still love you, you didn't listen, but I still love you. And you've got some battles you're going to be fighting in this wilderness, and I'm going to go before you.

Matt Stokes: 42:12 And then it goes on and says, as he went before them, it says the earth shook and it dropped at the presence of God. Most scholars believe that means he's talking about the dropping of rain, that he brought rain for them, "Even Sinai was moved at the presence of God." And maybe I need to stop here and just talk about Sinai, and we'll wrap it up. Sinai is really interesting, isn't it? Because Sinai is a mountain, Sinai is a mountain where Moses met God for the very first time. For 400 years, the Israelites are in bondage, they're slaves in Egypt and being abused horribly. You know, Moses kills a man and he runs to the backside of the desert for 40 years, hiding ,becomes a shepherd. And then he turns and sees Sinai, and when he sees the mountain, he sees a Bush that's burning, but it's not being consumed. And he doesn't get it, it's not uncommon for a Bush to burn on the side of a mountain, because in the hot heat, sometimes a Bush that was dry would be incinerated. But this Bush didn't, it was burning, but didn't get consumed. So he said, I'm going to turn aside and go see this great sight. And he walks up, and we know the history, "The Lord says, Moses, take the shoes off thy feet, for the ground on which thou stand is Holy ground." And God begins a relationship with Moses, and tells him that he's going to be his deliverer. Watch this, now watch this, "And my presence is going to go with you, as my deliverer of my people." Then Moses, with the presence of God, delivers the people of Egypt. And then where does he go? They come back into the wilderness, they come back to Sinai. And what happens? God gives them the law, he gives them his ways. He tells them everything about who he is, his justice, his mercy, he lays it all out before them. And also you not only see that, you also see the power of God. At the time that God was giving the law of God, it says that the earth shook and Sinai was covered in black smoke and brimstone. They were terrified, the Israelites didn't want to get near the mountain because they knew they would die. They didn't even want, when God spoke, they said it sounded like thunder. So when you look at Sinai, there is a really interesting metaphor here, because it's the place that God meets Moses, it's the place that God reveals to Moses his law, and it's the place where God shows his power. So if we finish there, I'm saying, guess what happened at Sinai? God showed up. God showed up at Sinai, and Moses was never the same. So the passage opens up by saying, "Arise O God." And then you see at Sinai, God shows up, reveals himself to Moses, this is who I am. Time goes by, he comes back again and he reveals himself to Moses, he says, here's my law. And then he revealed himself to all the people in his greatness, and his glory, and his grandeur, and his power.

Matt Stokes: 45:04 So where's your Sinai? As we close right now, where's your Sinai? That place where you need God to show up and speak right to your heart, and you and God speaking to one another. Where's that place where you need God to show up and give you his truth, so that you can take it, hide it in your heart, and live a new life. Where's that place, where's Sinai for you, that place where you need to see God's power, see his greatness, see his glory and never be the same? So we'll pick up on this next time we're together, I hope it was a blessing to you as you look at this, and keep these things in mind.

Matt Stokes: 45:45 Let's pray as we close. Father, as we look into just the simplicity of your word, I pray that we would see it also in all of its power. We pray, Lord, that you would be merciful unto us, bless us, be gracious unto us. Lord, that we would see your way upon the earth, and that people then would see your seeding power on the earth. We pray that we would learn how to praise you with thanksgiving, and with rejoicing, and with gladness in our hearts. We pray Lord, for each person in this room that somehow in some way, you're going to show up in their lives, and you're just going to annihilate anything that's getting in the way of you being their God. You and them, them in your presence, let us be in your presence, Lord. I pray that you would be a Father to the fatherless, Lord, that you would break people free from bondage, that you would take someone out of spiritual dehydration today because they've walked away from you today. I pray Lord, more than anything else that we, as we go forth in this place, would experience nothing less than your presence through Jesus Christ who died and rose again, to give us the power, the ability, and the authority to be able to walk in your presence all the days of our lives, and then dwell in your house forever. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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