Skip Heitzig - Say Something (Psalm 19)
I trust that you brought your Bible this morning, so would you turn to Psalm 19. There was a couple that was married. They had been married for sixty years and they loved each other deeply. They shared everything together. They kept no secrets from each other, except one. The wife, in this couple, had a little shoe box that when they were first married she put on the top shelf in her closet, and she made her husband promise that he would never look at it and he would never ask about it. He promised and he complied for sixty years.
And one day the wife grew very, very sick and she went to the hospital. The husband put her affairs in order and then took the box down from the top shelf and brought it to the hospital and asked his wife's permission if he could open the box. And she said, "Yes, you can". He opened the box and he was surprised to find, simply, two dolls, two crocheted dolls and $95,000. And she said, "Let me explain: when we were first married, my grandmother gave me advice. She said, 'If you get into a fight with your husband, an argument, you reconcile that argument as soon as you can. If you cannot reconcile, you say nothing. You don't say a word. What you should do is just go into the room and crochet a doll.'" So she said, "That's what I did". So he looked and he saw there were only two dolls and a new love for his wife just welled up in his heart and tears came to his eyes as he realized after sixty years of marriage, we've only had two unresolved conflicts. And then he said, "Now, what about the $95,000 in cash"? She goes, "Well, every time I crocheted a doll, I'd sell it to the craft store".
So now we get a different picture here, right? "What we have here is a failure to communicate," in the words of Cool Hand Luke, if you remember that movie. So now we don't have a wife who quickly resolves conflict; we have a woman who's got pent up frustrations and not saying something when she should, and that's been going on for sixty years. And the song that we played this morning "Say Something," it's about a relationship that is coming to an end, and communication is replaced with silence. There's one final hand going out to fix it, if at all possible. "Say something, I'm giving up on you. I'll be the one, if you want me to. Anywhere, I would have followed you. Say something, I'm giving up on you". There's a lot of people that echo those sentiments when it comes to God: "God, if you would just say something. Speak to me".
Isaiah the prophet said, "Oh, that you would rend the heavens, and come down"! How many of us have felt that at some time in our Christian life? Well, in Psalm 19 David says God has spoken and God still speaks. And there's three parts of this psalm. We'll get into it in a minute. But basically David says God is revealed in nature, God is revealed in Scripture, and God is revealed in character. So he looks upward at the skies, he looks downward at the Scripture, he looks inward at his soul, and in all three places he notices that God is speaking. Sometimes we say, "Say something"; God would say, "Hear something. Listen to something when I speak". In the skies, God reveals his glory; in the Scriptures, God reveals his greatness; and in our soul, God reveals his grace. So let's look at the first six verses. Here's the first way God speaks: God speaks in the skies.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line had gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like the bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat". David says the heavens are talking, they're declaring, they're giving a record of something. Now, David was a shepherd, so he spent a lot of time outside camping out, looking at the stars. Perhaps he wrote this Psalm as the sun first flushed over the Dead Sea. He was in Bethlehem, and maybe after the sunrise, he wrote this. The heavens are preaching a sermon, he said. In his words, they "utter speech".
You know, for a long time, I think since the beginning of mankind, people have wondered, Is there anybody up there, and, if so, who is he? And it's really interesting, I was watching a little news clip, an NBC News clip about how that mankind is listening to the universe and they have this huge ear. It's a radio telescope. It's the largest on earth. It's so big. And it's called Green Bank, West Virginia, it's a little sleepy town, they put this big apparatus. It's so big that you could drop inside of it a 60,000-seat stadium. It's enormous and it's listening to frequencies that may be emitting from outer space to get some kind of a signal. Well, they want it quiet around Green Bank, West Virginia, and for miles you cannot use a cell phone, you can't use Wi-Fi, you can't turn on a radio in your car. One of the workers that was being interviewed said, "You know, you start wondering, how did all those stars get up there? And why are they there? Where did they come from? And then that leads you to ask, Where did I come from"?
All good questions. And those are the kinds of questions that the skies are meant to have you ask. David says the heavens are declaring something, they're preaching a sermon, and the sermon is a special sermon. You'll notice he says, "The heavens declare the glory of God". They don't tell you of the grace of God. The heavens don't tell you of the love of God or the mercy of God or the judgment of God, but they do tell you of the glory of God. The glorious design of the universe speaks of the glorious designer behind it. I'm going to give you a word. Throw this out at lunchtime. You ready? Teleogical. Now, I didn't say that just to say a weird word, but the argument of what I'm talking about is called the "teleogical argument" in apologetics. In other words, we argue from the vantage point that when you see something designed, you expect that there was a designer.
If I were to say, you know, "Your car, boy, your car is really cool. I bet it just oozed spontaneously out of the asphalt". You'd say, "Idiot". But if I were to say, "Boy, that's a great car. The manufacturer had some great design they put into it". You'd go, "Now you're on to something". A design speaks of a designer. And when you look at the art that's hanging in the skies, you're forced to say, "How much more glorious of the artist himself". The glorious art speaks of the glorious artist. "The heavens declare the glory of God". Also, the sermon is continual. Notice what David writes: "Day unto day utter speech, night unto night reveals knowledge".
So here we are, we're able now actually to observe planetary movements, rotations, and patterns every day, every night, every week, month, year, just keep going on. We're able to observe this. Just like I talked about your car as oozing up out of the pavement, suppose I said this: "All that we see around us, it's just one fantastic accident. It's a spontaneous generation that just so happened. Wow! what a coincidence. It's a fortuitous occurrence of accidental circumstance". I could say that. I could say, "And it just so happens that the surface temperature of the sun is 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit and we are 93 million miles away from that, but it's just an accident".
You see, actually, if our rotation were a little bit further away, like Mars, or a little bit closer, we'd either burn or freeze to death. We couldn't have the kind of life we have on this planet. But amazing, "It just so happened". And get this, "'it just so happens' that the little sphere that we're on, the earth, rotates 365 times as it makes its yearly journey around the sun". Why? Why not 30 times? Well, if it did rotate 30 times on its axis, the days and nights would be 10 times longer, and there would be alternate freezing and cooling, and carbon-based life, like we know it, could not be sustained on this planet. It's a marvelous "accident" though, isn't it? And I could say, "And get this, it just so happens that the earth is tilted 23 and one-third degrees on its axis, giving us four beautiful seasons year after year. Incredible coincidence. And, furthermore, it just so happens that the atmosphere that we breathe is a perfect balance of oxygen to nitrogen, 79 percent to 20 percent with 1 percent of variant gases, amazing".
Why not 50-50? Well, if it was 50-50, you wouldn't be doing this, you'd be doing this... plop. And the first guy to light a match would blow it all up. "But there's more. It just so happens that the water to land ratio on the earth is just marvelously balanced". There's 71 percent of the earth's surface that is ocean. Did you know that if the ocean were half the dimensions they are presently, we would only have one-fourth of the rainfall we have on earth? Imagine what this place would look like. It wouldn't exist. If the oceans were just one-eighth larger than they are, we would have four times the amount of rainfall that we have and the earth would be a flood zone. So, yeah, I could say, "It's a marvelous accident that just happened". Or I think I could be a little wiser and say, "No, no, no. There is design built into that, and therefore there must be a designer behind it all".
I remember hearing this stuff in school. I heard it for years. You hear it. "We all just came from spontaneous generation of a single bacterium". I love what Sir Frederick Hoyle the noted astronomer once wrote, he said: "The probability of spontaneous generation of a single bacterium is the same probability that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard could assemble a 747 from the contents therein". It didn't "just so happen". "The heavens declare the glory of God". The sermon is continual and the sermon is universal. Everywhere on earth you see stars. Everywhere on earth there's a moon. Everywhere on earth there's the sunrise and sunset. And this is the reason the apostle Paul said what you see around you is enough to make you responsible to believe in God; it's enough to let people know God exists.
In Romans 1 verse 20 Paul writes: "From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and the sky and all that God has made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature [i.e., glory]. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God". So, yeah, we can say, "Say something"! And God would say, "I did, but evidently you're not listening". You notice in verse 5 and 6 he poetically describes the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, like a bridegroom and like an athlete running a race. When you walk outside and you feel the sun brush against your cheek, or perhaps today beating harshly on your head, what you are experiencing is the radiation that the sun is giving off.
And did you know that the radiation that the sun gives off is produced by the loss of part of its mass. Did you know that the sun loses 4,200,000 tons of its mass every second, and it only recovers 1/200 of what it loses. You know what that means? It means the sun is running down, the lightbulb is running down. And if the lightbulb is running down, it means it must have had a beginning. "The heavens declare the glory of God". So the skies speak; God speaks in the skies. Second, you'll notice David writes that God speaks in the Scripture.
In verse 7 he turns now looking downward at the Scripture, after upward of the skies. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether". So he looks upward, but he realizes, you know, the universe speaks, but it doesn't tell you the whole story. There are certain things the universe cannot tell you about God: can't tell you about his love, can't tell you about his grace, can't tell you about his mercy, can't tell you about his judgment. But when we look at the Scripture, now we get special revelation, now this is specific speech. And in the Scripture God will speak to you about life, about death, about what happens after you die, about love, and relationships, and the future.
Now, if you'll just indulge me a moment, and you look down at your Bibles that you brought, you'll notice that there are essentially, what I read, six lines, six poetic stanzas. And each line has three parts: first of all, there's the title for God's truth in Scripture; second, there is an attribute of that truth; and, third, a result. So notice the titles: "law," "testimony," "statutes," "commandments," "fear of the Lord," "judgments", all synonyms for Scripture; the attributes: it's "perfect," it's "sure," it's "right," it's "pure," it's "clean," it's "true and righteous altogether". This is a high view of Scripture, by the way. Sometimes people may wonder, "Why is it always a Bible study"? Man, that's one thing that I do. I do expositional Bible study. I don't run back and forth and dance and shout and come up with an idea that I had after a late-night pizza, or something that I think is cool, or "here's my opinion".
I want to give you what the Bible says, because I believe God speaks through his Word very, very specifically to people's hearts. I just want you to know something. I think you already know it, but I want to tell you and explain why. I believe the Bible is indeed the very Word of God, I believe it is without error in its original documents, and I believe we have the complete mind of God in the Scripture. I realize in saying that that a whole lot of people do not hold to that. And it could be that some people here may not even hold to that. And that would be evidenced by the fact that you don't read it and never carry it. "It's not a big deal, it's just something the preacher does on Sundays and we listen to it". You might have a much lower view of inspiration than I do.
Here's what I want you to know: I believe the Bible to be the Word of God for one simple reason, I believe Jesus Christ. I believe, I follow him and I believe what he said. Now let me just tell you, when I first got saved, I was drawn, not to the Bible, I was drawn to Jesus as a person. I was compelled by the person of Christ. I didn't know much about the Bible. I didn't get the Bible. And when I tried to read it, it's like what!? But I kept reading and I was presented in the gospels, in the Bible, a historical Jesus. And I started reading what he said about the Scripture and it floored me. He said, his words, "The Scriptures cannot be broken".
That's a high view. He said, "I didn't come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. Not one jot, not one tittle will pass from this law till it's all fulfilled", high view of Scripture. "Heaven and earth will pass away, my words will never pass away", high view of Scripture. So now when I read the Bible, I believe that I'm seeing it and reading it and believing about it what Jesus saw and believed about it, that it is indeed the very voice of God and the Word of God. So let's go through that list quickly, and give you some of the results of the special revelation of God in the Scripture. What will it do for you?
Number one, it will refresh your soul. Verse 7, "The law of Lord is perfect, converting the soul". The word "convert" means to turn back to something. Or you could translate it: to restore or to refresh or to revive. The Scripture will turn you back to God, and in turning you back to your God, you will be refreshed. It will always realign you. It'll do it the first time when you come to him at salvation; it'll do it the second, third, fourth, fifth, umpteenth time in sanctification. The Bible is like an unending well that refreshes and realigns your life with God's purposes. So here's this: you can go to a doctor for the needs of your body, you can go to college for the needs of your mind, you can only go to the Scripture for the needs of your soul. It refreshes your soul.
Second thing it'll do is it'll challenge your mind. Verse 7, "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple". And when you hear the word "simpleminded," you might think of a naive person. That's one way to look at it. But the word also means open-minded, open to instruction. Now, I will grant you that you come across certain things it's hard for your mind to get around, hard for your mind to deal with. They're just, like, so big and you look at it and you go, "Really"!? But hang in there, even if there is, now listen, an apparent contradiction, not a contradiction, I believe there are none, but there are apparent contradictions. You just keep applying yourself and you will see how things weave together and align themselves beautifully. I've discovered that people don't reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but people reject the Bible because it contradicts them. And they're just looking for something to say, "See, contradiction". That's because you don't want to deal with you and the Bible does. It'll challenge your mind.
Third thing it'll do is it'll delight the heart. In verse 8, "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart". Remember the happy man last week in Psalm 1? "His delight is in the law of the Lord, in his law he meditates day and night". Okay, but sometimes, am I right, you read the Bible and you read that verse and it's not so delightful? Ouch! You go, "Ouch! God is smacking me upside the head on that verse. Ouch! That's not delightful". But conform yourself to it, don't turn away from it. Allow it to shape you and mold you and change you, and the result of all that will be a delightful result. It will delight the heart. Jeremiah said, "Your words were found and I did eat them, and they were to me the joy and the rejoicing of my heart".
Number four, it'll clarify your vision. Also in verse 8, "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes". If you have a New Living Translation it says, "giving insight to life". Folks, Scripture is like the sun coming up on a dark alleyway in the inner city. It's dark, you don't want to go down it, then the sun pops up and you can see to navigate. The Bible throws light on life. It's amazing how much light the Bible throws on politics. It's amazing how much light the Bible throws on dating and marriage, finances, and all of life. It gives insight into life.
Number five, it'll stabilize your future. Look at verse 9, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever". Now we have something a little bit different. You notice the phrase "the fear of the Lord," here it's a synonym for the Bible, for Scripture, for God's written truth. It's odd, because you find that nowhere else, and the reason I believe he's using that phrase is because he is describing the effect that it has on you. The effect of exposure to God's truth is it produces within you, or it should, if it's doing its job and you're open-minded, it'll produce a respect, a holy, awesome respect for God. That's the fear of the Lord. And because God's truth is clean truth, that's his word, that it's pure, without deficiency, without error, it will endure forever.
Listen, the truth that got you through yesterday is the same truth that will be available tomorrow. It worked then, it's working now, it will be there in the future. And, finally, it will benefit your whole life. Verse 9, the end of it, "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward". You know, one of the things I've discovered as I read the Bible is that it warns me about the path I might be wanting to go down. It tells me the truth that the world hides from me. The world didn't tell you the whole truth about making that choice you're going to make. It just says, "Oh no, no, no. It's all good. Whatever feels good". The Bible will go, "Um, I want to warn you about that, not a good idea necessarily". "By them your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward".
John Bunyan used to say, he wrote Pilgrim's Progress, "This Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book". Psalm 119 the psalmist said, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you". It'll benefit your whole life. So God speaks in the skies, God speaks in the Scriptures, and now he turns inward to his own soul, even there God speaks. We finish it off, verse 12, "Who can understand his errors"? "His" is a small h, not referring to God, it's referring to David. The antecedent is in verse 11. "Your servant is warned," that's him. "Who can understand David's errors? Cleanse me," writes David, "from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins [or deliberate sins]; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer".
Okay, now get this: he looks up in the sky, he goes, "Wow"! Looks down at the Scripture: "Amazing"! Now he looks inside of himself: "Yuck"! Am I right? Do you notice the word that he uses here? He speaks about sin and error and faults. The first thing David realizes is his need for forgiveness from sin, from error, and from faults. That's what looking up at the skies will do, because you realize, "That's a glorious God, but I, on the other hand, am an inglorious being". Right? David, here's the proof, David, Psalm 8, "When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the sun and the moon, which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him"?
The revelation of the glory of God means I see myself as I really am. So, as I realize the glory of God in the skies, and I realize the greatness of God in the Scriptures, I now see a need for the grace of God in my soul. God is speaking inwardly to me. This is the reason we should give God unfettered access to our conscience, unfettered access to our conscience. What the skies proclaim and what the Scriptures pronounce is what the soul should process. It should affect us. So basically man is crying out, "Say something"! David's going, "Already has. He's been speaking a long time. Still speaking today". He speaks in the skies, he speaks in the Scripture, and he even speaks to your own soul. And now a closing prayer: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer".
The revelation of God in the skies and the revelation of God in the Scripture brings him to the place where he says, "Now I want to please you, God. I realize who I am, I need your grace, and now I want to please you in my words and in my thoughts". I love the honesty of this psalm. So we might say, "God never speaks to me"! God might say, "He never listens to me"! God is speaking. Here's what it's like, it a very simple illustration: okay, you're driving down the street in your car, right? Can you picture it? You got a radio? Okay, you turn on the radio to a local radio station, right? You hear it, but you drive out of town, and the more you drive out of town further away from the radio tower, what happens? This happens. Right? Pardon me for the noise. But you're driving down, boom ch-ch, boom bam ba-boom, boom-bch-chh. And then pretty soon it's just kchhhhhhh, white noise. Right? Does that happen?
If you want to finish the song, what do you gotta do? You gotta turn around. That's a Bible term: repent. You gotta turn the car around and drive toward the signal. And you drive toward the signal and it gets strong again. It's the same concept here: the further you drift from God, the weaker the sound. You've heard the old saying: "If you feel far from God, guess who moved"? You've been driving the other direction, so you turn around and you drive back to the signal. Or in James' words: "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you".
One Sunday morning a preacher was preaching, like I am here, and he noticed during the message that in the very back row there were two girls talking and laughing. So he interrupted his own sermon and he said, "There's two people in this room that haven't heard a word I'm saying". They immediately stopped. But they were in the back row, as I mentioned, everybody else in the church did not see that, didn't know what was going on. They just heard the preacher go, "There's a couple people in this room that haven't heard a word I'm saying".
So after the sermon he's shaking hands in the foyer, and several members came up to him and apologized for falling asleep during the message. I put to sleep some of the best, folks. What I say is not important; what God is telling you is all-important, it's all-important. It is always all-important when God is speaking. What is God saying to me? I look up at the skies: Wow! Awesome! Glorious! I look down at the Scriptures: amazing, detailed, great. I look in my soul, I see the need for his grace, and so I turn the car around and I move toward the signal. And it could be for today, for some of you, you're going, "Man, I've been tracking with God. I'm walking with God. I hear this signal. It's so bright. It's so clear. Life is good".
But some of you... others... Turn around, turn around and drive right back toward him. "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you". It could be that today this is sort of like your little power surge. You just caught a little bit of the song. You came in here and it's like voom, you heard God's song, "Oh, I remember that song. I heard that signal again". You can hear it clearer and stronger. I'm going to give you an opportunity in a moment to drive back, to turn around, what the Bible calls "repent," and to come to Christ in a personal relationship. Maybe some of you have never done that before. Others of you remember sometime you heard the tune, you kind of hung out, and you understood God a little bit, and that was sort of cool. And there's been a lot of static in your life and you need to get back to him.
Father in Heaven we just simply surrender ourselves right here at the end of this message when you consider that you have desired to communicate with us and you have done so in a number of different ways. You've done so in creation. You've done so in that general revelation. You've also done so in the Scripture in very specific, special revelation: prophets and emissaries throughout history, the writers of Bible that give us this wonderful composition. And then also, Lord, in our souls. And that's never a true read in and of itself; it has to always be compared with the first two to get an accurate read. But, Lord, some of us, as we look inside, as we turn inward like David, we can see that there are little secret sins that could lead to bigger sins, all of that harbored within us and coming out from us. And, Lord, we need your forgiveness. We need your help. So I just pray for all who have come, all who are here, for an honest evaluation at this moment. We'd be getting real with you, Lord, as we look inwardly and we find out how we relate to you or not, what that status is like, how we're doing together. Some of us will just simply and honestly find it's lacking. "I've really never heard that signal before today," or "I've heard it before and this is like a power surge. I've heard that song, I want to get back to it".