North Clear Creak Falls, San Juan Southern Rocky Mtns. - Copyright Jon Barger - Litho in USA
Preached at Northwest Christian Church
David P. Kautt
Sunday morning, February 7, 2010
Psalm 1:1-6: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his
delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He
shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit
in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall
prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives
away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the
congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but
the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 18:28-33: “For You will light my lamp; the LORD my God will enlighten my
darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a
wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a
shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD?and who is a
rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way
perfect.He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.
Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-9: “ “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who
have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for
what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let
your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear,
and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you— the
sure mercies of David. Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while
He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our
God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor
are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your
John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one
comes to the Father except through Me.
I’ve got a two question survey I’d like to conduct this morning – and guess what? Your number is the one I’ve dialed and I’ve got you on the line… So, will you participate with me in this?
Question number one is designed for you to show your response to what I ask, by raising your hand. But, question number two – let’s just say that I invite you to take it up with the Lord, just between Him and you – without any visible response on your part at this time…
Here’s the first question: “How many of you believe that God’s way – His plan – is the BEST way to go?” Raise your hand, please, if you agree with that statement.
Okay, now to question number two – and, again – I urge you to take this one up with the Lord, just the two of you. Here’s the question: “If people watching your life were to try to discern whether or not you really believe that God’s way is best, what would they say – what conclusion would they draw, based upon the way you live your life?”
“God’s way is the very best way” – our survey says that an overwhelming majority of this crowd, at least, really believe that to be the case. But, the question – the one that makes us squirm in our seats, the one that pricks our consciences, or maybe even causes our blood pressure to go up – is not: “Is God’s way the BEST way?” But, rather, “Does my life line up with my acknowledgement and confession that God’s way is best?”
How many of you have been to the Post Office recently in order to mail a package? You can raise your hands on that one, if you like?… Several of you have – Now, here’s the question for you to think about: “When you walk up to the Postal Clerk at the desk - your prized package in hand – what do you ask him or her?” Remember, this is an important piece of mail, right? And, likely it about to be sent to a very important person, right? So, what do you ask the P.O. clerk? “Sir, what’s the cheapest way to send this?” or “Ma’am, what’s the quickest way to mail this?” Or, do you and I ask – as we really should ask – “Sir/Ma’am, what’s the BEST way to send this package?” Interesting, isn’t it, how often speed – or even more, our pocket books – override the wisdom there is in asking and abiding by the BEST way for our packages to be delivered.
You know something? I’m afraid that that very same way of thinking is what often guides us in ALL of our lives? You know, the mindset that says, “How can I get this done with the least amount of effort on my part?” Or, the thought process that leads us down a road marked ‘self-reliance’ and ‘self-sufficiency’, and off the high road, the straight way marked “trusting in the Lord.” Is God’s way the BEST way?
We agree with that statement, don’t we? We’d answer ‘yes’ to that question, wouldn’t we? But, do our lives prove it? Do they?
Take Psalm one for instance – we read it a moment ago. It’s one of my favorite Psalms in the Bible. And it serves along with Psalm two as kind of an introduction and summation of the message of the entire book of Psalms. Psalm 1 is the story of two ways – there’s our key word, my friends – it’s the story of two ways for a man, the account of two men. One I call ‘Blessed Bill’ and the other I call ‘Woeful Will’. Two men who took those two different ways – those two divergent life paths. Look again at what the Bible says through that Psalm about ‘Blessed Bill’. Why is he someone folks like us would call ‘Blessed’? Is it because he SAYS – is it because he intellectually acknowledges - that God’s way is best? Is that the reason he is ‘Blessed Bill’? No! Look closely at what God’s word says here – Blessed Bill is blessed why? Because he ACTS upon his belief, instead of letting ungodly men and women – TV talk show hosts, new age gurus, grocery store scandal sheets – be his guide; instead of reading his horoscope for advice, where does he go to find the way?
“Blessed is the man who does NOT walk in the counsel [the advice, the guidance] of the ungodly!” Or, how about his friendships, his intimate, heart-to-heart connections with other people? What about him? Are Blessed Bill’s heart strings woven together with people who say ‘no’ to our survey question? Has he taken his stand with them? Think about it with me, will you? How many times have good moral been corrupted and contaminated by evil companionships? No! Blessed Bill, he refused to stand in the path that sinners are using and cruising!
Furthermore, like God, Blessed Bill laughs, and then, cries – he weeps – because ungodly counselors and sin-path walkers, if they continue in that direction – what do they become? They soon become mockers, scoffers, arrogant scorners who foolishly claim, “There is no God!”… There is no BEST way other than their own way!
Yes, Blessed Bill is blessed why? Because his belief is consistently translated into ACTION – “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night!”
I don’t know if you have thought about it or not before – but consider it with me now, if you would, please. Your thoughts, my plans, our ways – what makes us think that THEY are the best? That they’re BETTER than what God, our Maker, our Sustainer, the One in Whom we live and move and breathe – what makes us think that our ways are as good as or better than His?
Psalm 18. By the way, these very same words are also found in 2 Samuel 22. Psalm 18 – Did you notice what David the psalmist wrote there? Psalm 18, verses 28 and following: “For You, O Lord, will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness” – my darkness, did you catch that? “The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” And, why is that? Verse 30, because His way – not mine – is perfect! And His word is proven and flawless!…
Beloved, thinking that my way is better…, thinking that your plan is superior… How foolish and puffed up could we be? It makes me think about the jet airplane story I heard some time ago… The recorded message comes over the airplane’s intercom. “This is your pilot speaking; please fasten your seat belts and sit back and relax. You’re in for a smooth, comfortable ride. And, remember, on this airline, nothing can go wrong… go wrong… go wrong… go wrong!” How dare we claim that our way is at least as good as God’s! His way is PERFECT! Who can get any better than that? Who can top that? And, then, look at the second half of that verse – all you scientists out there. It says that “God’s word is proven”. What does that word mean? It means that God’s word has been put to the test, and shown to be reliable! Not like our ‘theories’ – you know, still in the experimental stages! No! God’s way IS best! It is! Remember Jesus’ parable with which He closed out His marvelous sermon on the mount? Matthew 7, verses 21 and following – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who DOES the will of My Father in heaven… And whoever hears these sayings of mine, and DOES them, is like a wise man, who built his house upon a rock…”
God’s word – His way – is best! Why? Because it’s solid, it’s proven, it’s reliable – like a rock! But our ways… what are they? Second part of that parable of Jesus. They are like sand – sinking, shifting sand – and what happens when you build on sand? SPLAT! Down comes the house – down goes your life in a big heap of rubble.
Yes, God’s way is best – because it is perfect, and it is proven. But, think again about Psalm 18:30. What does David the psalmist mean when he informs us that God’s word and way is “flawless”? Here’s what I think this passage is trying to teach us – that God’s way is best, because God’s way, His word is pure! It’s pure! My friends, let’s get a little up close and personal. Is that an adjective we can honestly attach to our lives, to our words and ways? God’s way – His word – is pure, it is! His way and word are free – completely free – of dross, of admixture. But us, oh, how dross-filled we are! How full of impurities are OUR ways!
Isaiah the prophet, speaking in the Lord’s behalf, said it this way – Isaiah 55:8-9. “For My thoughts are NOT your thoughts, nor are your ways, My ways,” says the Lord, “for as high as the heavens are above the earth [and believe, that’s high!], so my thoughts.” God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are far, far above our ways!
“God’s way is the best way...” Do you agree with that statement? More significantly, does your life prove it?
God’s word has been pointing us in the direction of something that – up till now – we really haven’t touched on, something that turns this lesson toward the crux of the matter. Are you ready to hear and heed this part of God’s message to us?
God’s way in the best way – let’s come at this one more time, shall we? What’s really at stake when we move that statement from a simple survey question, to a heart-to-heart wrestling match with God?
Go back to Psalm 18 one more time with me, and this time please find verse 31. God’s way is best! What really is the crux of the matter? Simply this – this extremely important question – asked by the words of this psalm: verse 31 “Who is God?”
Standing on Mount Carmel one day, the Lord’s man – Elijah the prophet – asked that very same question of the 400 false prophets of Baal, and the Israelite people. Remember? He said, “Who is God? If Baal is God, then choose him! But, if Jehovah is God, then follow Him! This bold statement really begs this question – this crux of the matter question – who is God? You see, if my mindset is that MY ways are every bit as good as the Lord’s, then who really is god, in my life? If your thoughts are along the lines of, “I’ve got this one all figured out; I don’t need the Bible to guide me..” Ophrah says this… Dr. Phil says that… But don’t bother me with what the Holy Spirit says… Then, really, now – who IS god? You, me, or Him? “As for God, His way is perfect! As for God’s word, His word is proven and flawlessly pure. He is a shield to all who trust in Him!” In whom? “In Him!” For who is God? Baal? You? Me? No! Baal is not God! Nor are you or I! No one is God except the Lord! No one is a rock, except our God! Jesus said it this way, didn’t He? He said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me!”
His way, His new and living way – opened up through the veil that is, His flesh – is better, the BEST! Why? Because of WHO He is! He is God incarnate! His way is best! And, all other ways – where do they lead, where do they end up? At a sign marked with the words: D-E-A-D E-N-D! Dead end! All other ways – as good as they may appear, are dead ends!
So, what difference does it make – why should I align my life with my ‘yes’ answer to our first survey question? Psalm 18:32-33 – God’s way is best, it is perfect, it is proven, it is flawlessly pure. Here’s what difference it makes when you and I live like we believe that! He will make our way perfect [Psalm 18:32], and verse 33, He will make our feet sure and swift – like a deer. He – our God, our Lord whose way is the Best – will set our lives on high places!
Is God’s way the best way? If people watching your life were trying to discern whether or not you really believe that – what conclusion would they draw?
Let me close with this final statement. Joy is NOT found in having our way. Sorry all you Burger King fans. Rather, joy is found in choosing to be satisfied with – in deciding to align our lives - with God’s way!
And, with one final passage of Scripture we will close…
Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-7: “ “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the
waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and
milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not
bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat
what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear,
and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting
covenant with you— the sure mercies of David. Seek the LORD while He may be
found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the
unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy
on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” ”