Andrew Fountain - Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it
Sermon notes - Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it
- Hebrew poetry places a great value on symmetry
- Often what is most important is put right in the middle of the symmetry
The Book of Psalms
- The Psalms are divided in the Bible into 5 books.
- The middle book is book 3, which is Psalms 73–89
The Middle book of Psalms
- The central Psalm in this central Psalm is 81
- The fact that they are in the centre I don’t believe is an accident.
- I should say that I found this fact from an article by Robery Godfrey, president of Westminster Seminary, one of the world’s leading centres of Bible scholarship.
- Right in the centre of the central Psalm, in the central book is this promise:
Psalm 81:10 & 16
- I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
- I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
- How can we take these amazing promises and apply them to us.
- This is the challenge this morning
- So let’s look at the whole Psalm:
For the music leader; in the gittith style; by Asaph.
- Sing out in joy to God our strength!
Shout out to the God of Jacob!
- Lift up a song; sound the tambourine,
the beautiful harp, and the ten-stringed instrument!
- Blow the horn at the new moon,
at the full moon, when our festival begins.
- For it is a decree for Israel,
a rule of the God of Jacob.
- He made it a regulation in Joseph
when he went out against the land of Egypt.
I listen to a voice I had not understood:
- “I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
- In distress you called, and I delivered you;
I answered you from a dark thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
- Listen, O my people, while I speak earnestly to you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
- There shall be no other god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
- But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
- So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to do what seemed right to them.
- If only my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
- I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
- Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and they would be permanently humiliated.
- I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
based on NET Bible with some changes by amf
- The introduction tells us it was part of a feast (but we are not 100% sure which one, maybe Feast of Tabernacles)
- We are told to sing and shout out as loud as we can!
- How come people can do it for a sport’s team but not for God?
- Let’s shout Jesus now!
- The Psalm moves into a different phase at the end of v.5
- The focus is on the word Listen which in Hebrew is Shema and means to listen and obey
- God is pleading with his people
- reference to the Shema
- Jews would have regarded it as the central statement of faith of Judaism
Deu 6:5–6 the Shema
Listen (Shema), Israel:
The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
You must love the Lord your God
with all your mind,
with all your being,
and with all your strength.
- This Psalm is calling them back to it!
- This central book of the Psalms seems to be about the nation failing and being taken into captivity
- What has gone wrong, they ask? God heard us in the past
- God answers—I’m still here, and longing to bless you. But you have to listen…
- What does it mean to listen?
- Same word to listen and to obey
Image source: Michael Newton
- I read a story about a woman who was visiting a friend, and the kids were playing outside with a sprinkler…
- “My kids seem to have a hearing problem, Lois,” she sighed, wearily.
- Since I knew that she had studied some Hebrew, I commented, “You know, actually, what I think your kids have is a shema-ing problem.”
- One more example:
- So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul (NIV)
- So if you Shema Shema the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul
- So what does he promise if you “hear” him?
- The image is of a baby bird
Open your mouth!
Image source: Kati Fleming
- Precious words to George Müller
- Opened a home for orphan children living on the streets in the early 1800s
- Should he expand?
- He did, and God provided all the money, educating and providing for 30,000 children
- nearly 3 million pounds
- “Note that Müller did not rip this verse torn and bleeding from its context.”
- The core message:
- Obey God and he will deeply satisfy you
- Is this about works?
- It this not the wrong motivation?
- Why does God not force us to listen so he can bless us?
- Is this an “Old Testament idea”
- Works: We get hung up on the “works” issue.
- If God asks us to do anything, we say it’s works.
- This is not about achieving salvation, it’s about stepping out in faith and growing in maturity
- Jesus said “follow me”, “count the cost”
- “Just because you don’t have to do anything, doesn’t me there isn’t anything to do.” —Bill Bain
- Motivation: We can sound very spiritual and say, “I don’t want to listen to God for a reward, I just want more of him”
- But he has made us and he knows what we need to be deeply satisfied
- It is he who is satisfying us, whether directly with himself, or indirecty through other things
- Force: God wants to develop our maturity, just like a parent training a child to make good choices.
- He wants us to choose freely to love him, not because we are forced
- Old Testament? The most faithful of the churches written to in Revelation was in Philadelphia
Rev 3:8f: “I know your works. Behold I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut.I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word…[your enemies] will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word… I will keep you from the hour of trial…”
- He then promises them a crown, and that he will write his name on them.
Problems with hearing God
- How do I what God is saying?
Guidance is so hard—how do I know what I should be doing?
- Mary vs Martha —how do we sit at his feet?
- God is pleading with you now: Read my words!
- He is pleading with you to give you the opportunity of being satisfied by him
- Will you open your mouth wide?
- What God is saying: usually this is not our problem
- Most of us know very well what God wants us to do
- The problem is doing it!
- Mary: It was not that she was in his presence—so were the pharisees.
- It was that she was listening to him
- We have Jesus’s words right here in the Bible
- If you want to be a Mary, you need to be regularly sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him!
Updated on 2015-12-07 by Andrew Fountain