“How Do We Please God?”
July 6, 2008
We all want to please God. How do we do it?
I. Recognize God as creator (Psalms 19:1-6)
II. Value God’s Word (Psalms 19:7-11)
III. Let God rule in your heart (Psalms 19:12-14)
We all want to please God. Don’t we? If we do not want to please God, then we really don’t understand about God or about our human condition. My grandchildren are being taught about attitudes and action that “Make God happy”. Many people all across history and from all cultures have looked for ways to please God. In our human condition we have tried all sorts of things to please God. Many times we did not even have the right concepts about who God is and what his requirements are. We have tried to do all sorts of things to please God. Many of these things have been noble. We have tried working hard, giving money, helping people. What are God’s requirements to please God? Today, we are going to see from Psalms 19 three things that please God. These are not the only things that please God but these are fundamental. Psalms 19 was written by David as a song. No not David Jackson. David Jackson has written many songs and maybe even about this one. This David was a shepherd boy who became king of Israel.
I. Recognize God as the Creator – V1-6
1 “The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
Night after night they display knowledge.
There are many things that can cause us to think about God’s creation: the mountains, the sea, the microscope, as we study the human body and how it works.
One of things that cause many people to think about God’ creation is the stars. In our city environment, we can still see the stars to some extent. If you go out in the country, you can really see the stars. There are so many of them and you can see the Milky Way – a vast swath of stars that stretch across the sky containing billions of stars. God has placed our star the Sun and our solar system in the galaxy the Milky Way.
David was a shepherd boy when he was young. He spent many days & nights watching over the sheep for his father Jesse. Day by day, he watched the skies. He saw the sun come up and go down. He saw the clouds, the winds, the rain, and the thunder. At night, he saw the stars. He looked at the different formation of stars. He watched the moon go through the different phases. As he observed the heavens over long periods of time, he appreciated what God had created and he marveled.
David was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write: verses 3-6
The heavens show us the power of our Creator – God and his brilliant majesty. God demonstrates his power in the lightning and the wind.
3 There is no speech or language
Where their voice is not heard.
4. Their voice goes out into all the earth,
Their words to the ends of the world.
God’s creation in the heavens crosses all languages, boundaries and all the people can see what God has created. Northern Lights.
4b In the heavens he has pitched a tent
For the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming
Forth from his pavilion,
Like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
And makes its circuit to the other
Nothing is hidden from its heat.
Growing up in Texas, I watched as the sun came up in the east and set in the west. I thought that was always the way it was. Then we lived in Alberta Canada and it was different. In the sun came up and it made a circuit about 270 degrees. It never got very high.
The first way that we can please God is to acknowledge him as the creator. Paul writing in the first chapter of Romans proclaims that all people all over the world have observed God’s creation and so have no excuse for not knowing about God. Some people and cultures have seen the fabulous creation of God but they have worshiped the creation – the sun, the moon, the wind, the stars. David worshiped God the creator and declared the glory of God. It does not please God for us to worship creation or any part of it. God wants us to worship Him alone. We should recognize God as the creator but this is only the first step. What is another way to please God?
II Value God’s Word – v7-11
The next step is to value God’s word. God’s creation is very important and it is very important that we recognize that God Is the creator; but it is even more important that we value God’s word. David recorded how important God’s word was for him and not just for him but to all of us.
V7 the law of the LORD is perfect
Reviving the soul,
The statues of the Lord are trustworthy,
Making wise the simple.
The law of the Lord refers to the first five books of the Bible. David says that the law is perfect; i.e. it is without blemish. It is complete and full. Notice in our English bible that LORD is in capital letters. That is very important. There are several names for God in the O.T. When LORD is in all caps, it refers to the personal name of God. Sometimes we translate it as Yahweh. It is the name that God revealed to Moses at the burning bush. What does the law of the LORD do for us. It revives our soul. The law of the LORD gives us courage when we face difficult situations, when we face health problems, financial setbacks. The law of the LORD confirms what we need to do for God, for our families, for our neighbors, for our church, for our fellow workers, and our friends and strangers. The law of the LORD is trustworthy; i.e. we can totally depend on it. The opposite would be deceitful – ways that seem right but lead to bad decisions, injustice and death. God’s law provides wisdom even when we don’t understand why His principles work.
V8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
Giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
Giving light to the eyes.
Precepts are regulations laid down by the LORD. David proclaims that they are right. It gives us great satisfaction and joy to do the right thing. The LORD’S commands are radiant. In Psalms 119:105 – Your word is lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Without God’s commands we stumble around through life like walking in darkness in unfamiliar areas.
V9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
It is interesting that the fear of the LORD is described as pure. Many fears that we face are not pure. The fear of evil or of people with evil intent is certainly not pure. When we fear the Lord, we honor God and order our lives in accordance with his will. Fear of the LORD includes fear of his awesome power and holiness and what he can do. Fear of the LORD also means that we do not want to disappoint the LORD. We want to do the right thing even if it is hard to do. This means waiting on God to show us the person to marry and not jumping the gun. It means looking to him for financial resources. It means depending on Him when we don’t see an answer.
V10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
They are sweeter than honey , than honey from the comb.
How precious are the LORD’s ordinances? They are more precious than pure gold. Gold has always been valuable but His ordinances are even more valuable. They are more dependable and sure. In David’s time there was no refined sugar. Honey was the main source of something sweet. God’s laws are sweet. God’s laws are not sweet when we are disobedient or do not want to follow God. Why are they so great?
V11 By them is your servant warned;
In keeping them is great reward.
We are warned that God is a Holy God and since we are sinners, we cannot come to him except we confess our sins and accept Jesus as our only savior and redeemer. We are warned about many practical matters in the book of Proverbs. We are warned by the examples of people in the Old Testament. Some disobey God and didn’t follow through on what God had told them to do. Saul the king had a bright future but he did what he thought was right instead of caring out God’s instructions. Jesus warned us about how to seek God. Paul, Peter, John warned us about many spiritual and practical things in their letters and writings.
There are great rewards to following God’s laws. First of all there is the reward of salvation and the reward of heaven to be with our precious savior and to be free from sin and all of its terrors and emptiness. There are rewards for being able to encourage each other and see what God can do in our lives. He restores health, joy, financial blessings. He gives us wisdom on knowing what to do when we are faced with confusing options or when we have no idea of what to do.
III Let God rule in Your Hearts – V12-14
In order to please God, first we recognize God as our creator. Then we learn more Him and who by studying his word. We then learn how valuable his commandments, ordinances, and laws are. We then need to let God rule in our hearts.
V12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Many times we are inclined to think that we know what is best. God’s word and the Holy Spirit help us to see our errors. Sometimes God shows us that our ways are way off base. Other times, he shows us that there is a better way. He often uses problems to help us see his ways.
Hidden faults could be faults that we know about but no one else does. David asks God to forgive those faults. Sometimes God reveals things to us that we did not even think of as faults. I remember in high school, some of my buddies and I would try to hypnotize each other. At the time, I thought it was interesting. Later, I learned the dangers of putting yourself under the influence of others in that manner and possibly even under demonic influence. The LORD protected me as nothing serious ever came of it and we were not successful in hypnotizing anyone. When I recognized that was wrong and that was something that God did not want me involved in, I confessed it and did not do it again.
V13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
May they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
Innocent of great transgression.
Hidden faults are one thing but willful sins are a whole different category. A willful sin is one that we know for sure that is wrong but we keep on doing it. David asks the LORD to keep him from that type of sin. David knew that if willful sins are not confessed and discontinued that they will rule over him. One then becomes a slave to sin and cannot please God in certain areas. Actually, when we engage in willful sin, we find our appetite for pleasing God diminishes. We are like Adam & Eve after they sinned. What did they do? They tried to hide from God and fellowship was broken. David knew that great transgression would occur if he continued in this kind of sin. This means that our life is in danger of taking a limitation for our whole life. That doesn’t mean that we cannot confess or receive forgiveness. But, we are in great danger of having severe physical, mental, and spiritual scars that we will have to continually deal with.
V14 May the words of my mouth and the
Meditation of my heart
Be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Be careful of what we say. Words are important.
We need to think about what we say to the LORD and what we say about God to ourselves and to others. It is very helpful to read the Psalms and pray them back to God. We can find in the Psalms events or emotions that describe what we are going through and the proper way to express them to God.
We need to be careful of what we say to people. You are familiar with the little saying:
Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But words will never hurt me.
That saying is false. On the negative side, we can all remember something someone said to us that stuck for year s and years. We remember it for a long time even when it is not true. So we need to be careful of what we say, so that we don’t inflict that reaction on our family members, our friends, our church family, co-workers, and neighbors.
On the positive side we can also remember some encouraging word that someone said that inspired us to overcome some problem or character flaw.
Not only do we need to be careful about what we say, but we need to be careful about what we think about or meditate on. We fool ourselves when we disregard what we are thinking. Many times we are fooled into thinking that it is only what we do that is important. Sooner or later what we continue to think about shows up in our actions. One thing that we can do is to memorize scripture.
The LORD showed me something one time. I was down in the dumps one time and wanted to stop thinking depressing thoughts but I didn’t know how to break the cycle. The LORD gave me thought of singing some Godly choruses. I really didn’t feel like singing. So I started anyway. At first it was pitiful, but I continue and it wasn’t long until my spirits were lifted.
Paul in Philippians 4:8 says:
”Finally , brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
David’s confidence was in his LORD, His rock and His redeemer. A rock was a place of refuge and dependable. In those days, a person could become a slave thought large debts or as the result of capture during wartime. A redeemer was one that would buy back the freedom of the enslaved person. The LORD was David’s redeemer from sin. The LORD is our redeemer. If he is not your redeemer, the LORD can be your redeemer today if you confess your sins and turn your life over to him.
So how do we please God? We should acknowledge his as the creator. Then we read and value his word. Most importantly we need to let him rule in our hearts by confessing our hidden faults and our willful sins. We need to let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our heart be acceptable to the LORD.