Skip Heitzig - #nofilter
Now, I need to show you something. I'm going to show you these, because these are actual filters. This is where the term comes from. You kids, with social media, this may be a revelation to you. This is really a filter. They're used in photographically to filter out light. So in black and white photography, if you put a red filter on the lens of a camera, it will allow the red lighting in and make that red light brighter in the black and white image, but it will filter out darker colors like blue and green so that if you put this on the lens, and you photograph the sky with clouds, the sky will become black because of the red filter.
If you're doing portrait photography with black and white film, you'll want to use an orange filter, because it makes the face look better. It takes away blotches and freckles, it evens it out. And so, portrait photographers will use a red filter to enhance the image. Well, in the digital world, filters aren't pieces of glass, but they are algorithms that give the picture on the device that you take either a vintage look, or a black and white look, or a sepia look, or a more vivid look.
Now, in the world of social media, one of the most popular tags on Instagram is the title of the sermon; Hashtag No Filter. It has been used 150 million times on the Instagram platform. When somebody uses that hashtag, it means that picture is real, it's authentic, it's unaltered. You haven't put any built in filter around it to enhance the image. Ah, but, Instagram has 40 million users, which means there's probably a few cheaters out there. Don't you think?
Have you ever come across a photograph on social media and you look at it says no filter and you go, that looks too good to be true? It's because it is. A lot of people will say no filter but, they're actually using a filter so that you think it actually, their world looks that way. So, there is a URL now that you can plug-in called Filter Fakers that will check the image to see if it's really filter free or not. Can I just say, some people must have a lot of time on their hands.
So, people use filters to change reality; they don't like the way things are. But as you saw some of the images that were just up there; when you look at a fiery sunset, or you look at a snow capped mountain, or sunrise on the ocean, those things don't need filters. That's the unfiltered beauty of creation, the creation of God. It doesn't need to filter. Well, Psalm 19 is like an unfiltered Instagram picture of God's ability, power, and glory.
Now, let me just say before we get into it and work our way through this little devotional, the truth is, only when we're in our glorified bodies will we be able to encounter God in it completely unfiltered manner. You might remember, one time Moses asked God, "Show me your glory." Remember what God's response was? "You'll die." "No man can see me and live." So, for us to encounter God with his full energy available, in is total brilliance, will require some changes in our physical appearance. And that is, we'll need a resurrected body. Because otherwise, if you were to see God in your current condition, you would fizzle out like a bug hitting a bug zapper.
You know, when a welder welds a joint and turns on that very bright light of his welder, what does he have to wear? Filtered glasses. Filtered goggles. He has to have the filter in order to see the brilliance.
In Psalm 19, you might say David takes the filters off and tells us how to have the clearest view of God. Through, first of all, the unfiltered skies. Second, through the unfiltered scriptures. And third, through the unfiltered soul. So, there are three parts of Psalm 19, if you just glance over it. God is revealed, first of all, in nature. God is revealed, second of all, in scripture. And God is revealed, third of all, in character. So if I look upward at the skies, if I look downward at the scriptures, if I look inward at the soul, or if you prefer, through natural revelation, through special revelation, and then through practical revelation, I'll get it good picture of the God that I serve. In this skies, God reveals his glory. In the scriptures, God reveals his greatness. In the soul, God reveals his grace. If God were posting this on Instagram, his first photograph would be at a picture of the starry heavens. His second would be a picture of the Bible. And this third would be a picture of you. No filter.
Let's begin in the first few versus. The unfiltered skies, verse one. The heavens declare the glory of God, and a firmament, the expanse of the heavens shows his handiwork. Day onto day utter speech. Night onto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard. They're line is 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 a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. It's rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end. And there's nothing hidden from its heat.
Notice that David says the heavens declare the glory of God. That is, they reveal something, they disclose, they tell the story or they keep the record of the glory of God. Now, David wrote this Psalm. And David, what was his occupation growing up? He was a shepherd. So, he was out in the fields of Bethlehem to the Judahan hillsides. And he had the opportunity to look up in a era and in a place where there is far less light pollution then there is now. And he probably made his way down toward the Dead Sea, which you can do, and they would do from Bethlehem. And I'm telling you, the Dead Sea, 1,290 feet below sea level, is a vast expanse of nothingness except a dead sea. And when you look up at the sky it's like you could reach your hand and pluck those stars with your hands. Even though those stars are between 10 and 20 billion light years away, it's just brilliant. So, just imagine what was in David's thinking and in his visual when he said "the heavens declare the glory of God". Those stars, that sky, these heavens, they tell, me they give me the record of God's glory.
Now, mark that. The heavens creation tells us about God's glory. They say nothing about God's grace. They say nothing about God's mercy. They tell us nothing about God's love. They tell us nothing about God's judgment. You need something else to come alongside what the heavens tell you to get the full picture. But let's look at this picture, let's think of this picture, the heavens declare the glory of God. Here's the grand point; the glorious design ought to lead you to the glorious designer. The heavens tell you that there is a God that exists, that can do that. And if the glorious art is that beautiful, what must the artist look like himself?
Now, theologians have long called this, what I'm talking about, the argument from design, the argument from design. That every design shows intelligence and points to a designer. It's called the teleological argument, if you care. The teleological argument, or the argument from design. In other words, the best explanation for what we see in our universe, the best explanation for the existence of the heavens and all of its regularity is not randomness, but intelligence.
Now, notice what our text says in verse two. "Day onto day utter speech. Night onto night reveals knowledge." In other words, you can count on this declaration every single day and night. There's a regularity, there's predictable patterns, there are movements, there are planetary rotations, and they are regular, and they're by design. Are you going to tell me that it just so happens that the sun, at 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit, is 93 million miles away, it just so happens to be? Imagine if the Earth was as close as Venus, we'd all burn up. If the Earth was this far away is Mars, we'd all freeze, we wouldn't be here to tell the story. And so it just so happens that the Earth is in that relation to the sun. And you're going to tell me that it just so happens that the Earth is rotating on its axis 365.2 times a year? What if it was 30 times a year? That would mean your days 10 days long, and your night is 10 days long. And the alternate freezing and heating would also make it unable for life to be sustained on the Earth. You're going to tell me it just so happens that the Earth is tilted 23 and 1/3 degrees on its axis and its relationship to the sun giving us four beautiful seasons so we don't get too bored? Unless you live in Hawaii, and that's one season year around. Some of us would like that.
You're going to tell me it just so happens that the atmosphere is a perfect balance of oxygen to nitrogen? 80, or 79 to 20 with 1% of variant gases. What if our atmosphere was 50-50; 50 nitrogen, 50 oxygen? First dude to light at the match, bah boom! Talk about fireworks, we'd all be gone. It just so happens that the oceans are the current dimensions that are right now giving us a kind of rainfall pattern that we have on the Earth. Did you know that if our oceans were half of their present depth or mass, we would only get 1/4 of the rainfall we now get on planet Earth. And if the oceans were just 1/8 larger than they are now, we would get four times the amount of rainfall and this Earth would be a swamp. It didn't just so happen. It was designed. The heavens, the universe declares the glory of God.
Now, if looking up at the heavens is too far for you to look, then just look up at the beehive and think of bees for just a moment. Did you know, it takes 556 bees flying 50,000 miles gathering nectar from two million flowers to give you one pound of honey? Amazing. And those little bees are brilliant mathematicians. They are. They're able to construct these little hexagons to store honey in the beehive. It happens to be just the perfect kind of encasement. And those cells, those hexagon cells, are anywhere from 9 to 14 degrees and their orientation toward the center of the hive. What that means is they can fill those cells with honey and they won't drip out. And those bees are good dancers as well. They do two dances; one you might call the circle dance. I don't need to demonstrate, do I? You get the picture, they go in a circle. The other is a figure eight. Again, I won't demonstrate that. And you'll say, what are they doing dancing? Oh, they're just so happy. No actually, they're setting up GPS coordinates so they can fly directly to where the best food is and bring it back to the hive. The heavens, and the heavens just above your nose in the tree where the beehive is, declare the glory of God. That's the reason Paul said that this created world is enough to inform people but there is a God.
Listen to what Paul said in Romans one. "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 is invisible qualities, his eternal power, his divine nature. So there is no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God." God has given sufficient information about who he is in his power and ability in the created order. So, you know what, try this. Honestly, next time you're feeling a bit overwhelmed and pressed in by your own circumstances and weighed down, you think you're going to be crushed, put everything down, walk out that door, and look straight up into the sky, get a pair of binoculars and just look at what God did. Your God did that. Can be handle this if he did that? Can he handle this issue, this problem, if you can do that? That's perspective.
The other night I was out with my little binoculars, it was a full moon, I wanted my grandson Seth to see it. And he looked at the binoculars at the moon. He put them down, he goes, I got to have some of these. And I thought, and so you will. The unfiltered skies, next, look at verse seven of our Psalm, Psalm 19. From the unfiltered skies, the Psalmist now directs our attention downward at the scripture, the unfiltered scripture. From general revelation to special revelation, the law, it says in verse seven, 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 commandments of the Lord, command 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 all together.
There are certain things this universe can tell you about God. There are other things this universe cannot tell you about God; it leaves a lot out. And what it leaves out, the scriptures fill in. The scriptures tell you about. The scriptures will tell you about life. The scriptures will tell you about death. The scriptures will tell you about love. The scriptures will tell you about relationships. The Bible will tell you about the future.
The other day, I was sitting in my office at home, my library. I have lots of books I've collected since I was single, I still have them. And they're like old friends to me. And as I was sort of looking around, it just dawned on me, I have my Bible in my hand, I thought, all of these books are filters. They're filters. This is unfiltered. I'm opening my Bible and I'm hearing directly from the scriptures, and these are fine filters, but these are people who have written about their relationship with God, their view of the text of scripture. I'm getting there relationship filtered to me. It's beautiful. It's good. It's all edifying. All of those books are great, but they're filtered. The only unfiltered look I get at the scripture is when I encounter the scripture myself and the Holy Spirit is present to bring it home to my heart.
Well, in our text, I want you to notice there are six linee, this is Hebrew poetry, six lines and three parts. We'll look at these lines is a little bit more in depth. The three parts are, there's a title for God in each line, there's an act, excuse me, a title for God's truth, then there's an attribute of that truth, and then there's a result of that truth. So look at the titles. The Bible, or the scripture, or God's revelation is called law, testimony, statutes, commandments, fear, or fear of the Lord, and judgments. Six titles for the revealed word of God. Then there are attributes that are given; it's perfect, it's sure, it's right, it's pure, it's clean, it's true, and righteous all together.
Now, I just need to sort of underscore something, make a little note here. If you haven't figured this out already, it's time that I spilled the beans. I actually believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. I believe it is God's revelation pure, sent from heaven, though written through the pen of men throughout the ages, but it is God's inerrant word to us. Now, not everybody believes that, I can see that. And I also think it's evidenced by their life, just look at their life. Their life is so uncertain, so irregular, so up and down, because they don't have a source of truth. I believe it to be the very word of God. And the reason I do is because I believe Jesus Christ. I'll put it to you simply. If Jesus Christ is my Lord than the Bible will be my God. Now, I know that because I know what Jesus said about the Bible.
I remember when I first was saved and I was drawn to Jesus as the person. I love the whole concept of Jesus. He interested me. But then I started reading the Bible. And, to be honest, I got a little confused with it. I didn't quite get it, I didn't understand it. Here's an 18-year-old kid trying to read a King James version Bible. And it was very, very difficult. But as I read, I saw that it presented to me a person, a historical person named Jesus. As I read more about him and what he said, I realized this man is either a con artist, a crazy guy, or the consummate Lord of the universe. One of those three.
When I read the Gospels, I saw what Jesus said about scripture. Do you know that Jesus said this, "and the scripture", his words, verbatim. "The scripture cannot be broken." That's what he said about the Bible. "The scripture cannot be broken." Jesus said, not one jot or one tittle will pass away from the law til everything is fulfilled. That's his view of the scripture. So as I began to read the scripture, I began to read it with a different set of eyes. I began to read the Bible like Jesus saw the Bible. This is the word of God. This is the voice of God.
Now, what are the benefits of an unfiltered view of scripture? Well, first of all, it'll refresh your soul. Verse seven; the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The word converting means it will refresh your soul. The word convert means to turn back. So the Bible turn you back to God, and in turning to him, your soul will be refreshed. It'll do it the first time, that's salvation. It'll do it the second, third, fourth, and 85th time as you grow in Christ and sanctification. It is, in other words, the Bible is a bottomless well of refreshment if you make it that. You can go to a doctor for the needs of your body, you can go to a college or school for the needs of your mind, but you must go to the scripture for the needs of your soul. It'll refresher your soul.
Remember what Jesus did when he quoted the Old Testament and he said man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. That's how we live. Second, it'll challenge your mind. Look at the second part of verse seven; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. You see that word simple? It's a pretty simple word. The word simple could be translated naive. Now, I know nobody likes to be called naive. But the real idea of that word in this text means be open minded person, a person who is open to instruction. That's the idea being simple; I'm open to what the Bible says to me.
You know, I made a discovery that people often reject the Bible, not because it contradicts itself. But because it contradicts them. It contradicts them so, they're not open to it anymore. I remember what Mark Twain used to say, I didn't actually hear him say it, but I read that he said this. I'd have to be really old to remember what he said, and I'd be a freak of nature if I could. But he said, you know, it's not the things I don't understand in the Bible that bother me, it's all the things that I do understand that bother me. Sometimes the Bible will just confront you and hit you right between the eyes, right? But if you're open to it, if your simple, if you're open to instruction, it will make wise the simple. So, it will refresh your soul, it will challenge your mind, third, it will delight your heart. It'll delight your heart.
Verse eight, the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. You remember Psalm one? Blessed is the man, or oh, how happy is the man who doesn't walk in the council of the ungodly, nor sit in the way of sinners, or stand in the way of sinners, are sit in the seat of the scornful. But, his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law does he meditate day and night.
Is the Bible a delight to you? Now, just like I said, sometimes the Bible will hit you right between the eyes. It is not pleasant to hear and consider certain truths, but the results will be delightful. Psalm 109, this is Psalm 19. Do you know, in three verses, in Psalm 19, David gives us the synopsis of Psalm 119? If you know Psalm 199, you know it's the longest Psalm in the Bible, and it's all about one thing, scripture. There's 175 verses that extol the benefits of scripture. David gives us the paired down version in Psalm 19.
In Psalm 119 he says, "I rejoice at your word as one who finds great treasure". So a little refresher soul, it will challenge your mind, it will delight your heart. A fourth benefit, it will clarify your vision. It will clarify your vision. Look at the second part of verse eight. "The commandment of the Lord is pure and a lightning the eyes". The New Living Translation says "giving insight to life".
You know what the Bible is like to me? It's like the sun shining in a dark alley, or the sun coming up over the horizon giving a shadow and dimension to my world. I find myself unable to navigate through life until that sun comes up and sheds light into my world. And I've discovered that the Bible throws light on financial issues. It throws light on marital issues. It throws light on dating issues. It throws light on political issues. You want to see clearly, see it through the lens of scripture, it'll clarify your vision.
Next thing it'll do is, it'll stabilize your future. It'll stabilize your future. Versus nine, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever." Isn't that an interesting way to describe scripture? God's Revelation, the fear of the Lord. Why is it called that? Because it describes the effect that it has on you, or it should have on you. It causes a reverence for God. So it's just called the fear of the Lord. And notice that it says, "The fear of the Lord is clean." God's truth is clean. That is it's pure, it's without defect, it's without error, so it's going to endure forever.
Let me put it this way. The truth they got you through yesterday is available for you today and tomorrow. It's clean. It will endure forever. It'll stabilize your future. And lastly, it'll benefit your life in general. Versus nine, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous all together. More desired are they than gold. Yay, than much fine gold." I love this version; yay, than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey in the honeycomb. Moreover, by them, your servant is warned. And in keeping them, there is great reward.
Notice, it not only instructs you. It not only throws light on the dark parts of your life, it also warns you. What does it warn you of? It warns you of sin. It warns you of the harmful results of choices that you might be making that the Bible calls sin. Because the world lies to us about sin. The Bible tells you the truth about it. John Bunyan used to say, "This book will keep you from sin, but sin will keep you from this book." It has the effective of warning us.
In Psalm 119, that long Psalm I told you about, David said, "Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might sin against you." It will benefit your life. So those are the benefits of it. It will refresh your soul, challenge your mind, delight your heart, clarify your vision, stabilize your future, and will benefit your life. The unfiltered skies looking upward, the unfiltered scripture looking downward. Let's look at the third and final gaze, and that is the unfiltered soul, verse 12.
David continues, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant, also, from presumptuous 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 site. Oh, Lord, my strength and my redeemer."
Now David takes the unfiltered look at mankind, after looking upward of the skies, downward at the scripture, he looks inward at the soul. And you will notice something very interesting, at least it was to me. After those two unfiltered looks, David, now looking inward, realizes his sin. He recognizes the need of his own forgiveness. Notice he writes the word "sin", "error", "faults". See, this is always the result of the first two unfiltered snapshots. If I get the accurate snapshot of the glory of God, an accurate snapshot of the greatness of God and scripture, I'm going to see the reality about myself. Do you remember when Peter was in that boat and Jesus performed that miracle? He was not only blown away that Jesus could walk on water, and calm the sea, and make fish come into a net, Peter said depart from me Lord, I'm a simple man. Peter saw Peter, not just Jesus. When you see God clearly, you also see yourself clearly. And this is what looking up at the skies will do.
"When I consider the heavens," David wrote in Psalm eight, "The work in your fingers, the sun and the moon, which you have ordained, what is men, that you are mindful of him?" And this is the result of looking at the scriptures. Because, as you look at the Bible it says, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So was I realize God's greatness, and glory in the skies, and his greatness in the scripture, I also see the need of grace in the soul.
Isaiah had a vision of God. Remember Isaiah, chapter six? Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple. It was this magnificent vision of God, and the music in heaven was loud, and the post shook because of the volume and the majesty of God. And Isaiah said, "Whoa is me, I am undone." In seeing God, he saw himself. He didn't say, wow is me. I had a vision of God, wow is me. I'm going to write a book. Wow is me. I'm going to go on Christian television. He said, "Whoa is me. I just saw God. And in seeing God, I'm seeing who I am. Whoa." He was brought low. And that's the result. And this is why God should always have unfettered access to your conscious life, your conscience. What the skies proclaim and what the scriptures pronounced should have an effect on what the soul processes. No filter.
Verse 14 is simply a closing prayer. It's a good one for us. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart. What I say, but also what I think that nobody hears, may that be acceptable in your site. Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer." I love that. That shows me that the unfiltered view of God and all of these things we just talked about should lead you to want to please God.
Remember that story about the kindergarten class? The teacher said, I want you to draw something important to you. So kids are drawing their favorite pictures and Little Johnny's in the back drawing, drawing, drawing. And he's looking down, he's not looking up. And all the kids, by this time, have turned in their little projects except Johnny. And the teachers says, Johnny you're working awfully hard, what are you drawing? And he says, I'm drawing God. And she went... Nobody knows what God looks like. And he said, they will when I'm finished.
Well, that's actually Jesus's line, isn't it? Not Johnny's line. That's Jesus's line. The New Testament says, "No one has seen God at any time. But the only begotten son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him." Best unfiltered look of the God we serve is to look at the life of Jesus Christ. Make much of Jesus. Let Jesus be close in your life. No filter needed.
Father, we thank you that we could meditate on a Psalm that one of your chosen servants wrote and meditated on these very subjects. We think of that shepherd boy out in the fields, looking up at the skies and saying, a great big intelligent God must have made all this, that's the only reasonable explanation for it. Whatever means used, he used it. The design speaks of the designer. This isn't by accident. This is an incident by an all powerful, all knowing, all loving God. But then, considering the scripture, the revelation that a special, that is pure, that gives light to us, that gives insight into our lives, that tells us the truth about your love, your plan, our lives, are need, and the judgment to come, the world to come, heaven to come, hell to come. Finally, when we look down into our soul, we see the need for forgiveness and reconciliation for you to do a work in our lives. We need are soul to process that in an accurate way. And not only asking for forgiveness, but a desire to say what David said. Lord, may the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts, may they be acceptable in your site, oh God. In Jesus name, amen.