Praise in Perilous Times
A Sermon for Sunday, November 27, 2022
Veterans Memorial Chapel
By Ch Jim Odell
This is a synopsis, or quick review, of the sermon for Thanksgiving Sunday, November 27, 2022. I am only hitting the highlights of the message, not reproducing the entire sermon.
I usually enjoy watching the TV news the night before a big holiday. The day before Christmas Eve, the news reels usually show good deeds being done. The day before New Years Eve, all the main news highlights for the year are reviewed. Wednesday night before Thanksgiving usually covers topics about food, family and football.
This year it seems, at least to me, to be a lot more dower. Travel fears and the high price of food and gas crowded out food and family. Ongoing violence and murder crowded out the sports news. One may ask, why be thankful anyhow?
Life “under the sun” (Solomon’s term) is a walk of faith. It is full of both joy and sorrow; peace and pain; health and sickness. Sometimes things go well, and sometimes it seems everything is going bad. But that is where faith comes in.
Faith, or belief is a state of trusting in a good output, in any circumstances, good or bad. But faith must have an object. Someone or thing that one can trust in to bring about the “good ends” for which we are hoping. Some people trust the “almighty dollar” to solve all their problems. Others trust their own strength and abilities to pull themselves through. Some believe the government is to provide all of this. Still others trust their insurance policies and financial planning. Others trust the “lottery” or in that “ship that is coming in.” Still others are like the old song, “I have confidence in confidence alone!?!”
God calls us to make Him the “object of our faith.” After all, God is ultimately in charge. He is accomplishing and will accomplish His good will over all the whole world. He is working today and will accomplish all He promised. We are called on to trust that fact. Look closely at our text this morning, Psalm 99.
In verse 1, “The LORD reigns,” let the nations tremble. God is to be respected and awed, for He is more powerful than all, not just individually but collectively.
He is enthroned between the cherubim (guardian angels). He can and some day will shake the earth. Zion (the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) is the place from which He will rule the entire world. The Church is today His “Zion.” We are living in the world and announcing to the world His great salvation.
Look at the five main pillars of His kingly platform listed in verse 4: 1) might, 2) love, 3) equity, 4) justice, and 5) righteousness. By might, God will keep all evil in check. Love is an interesting word. This king is not demanding the respect love and allegiance of the citizenry. Rather He is showing love to them. Taking care of their needs. This is upside down to any world government. Equity is even and fair to all. The world is full of losers and winners. The wronged and the oppressors. I do not know how God will do it. For thousands of years mankind has struggled and fought between themselves to dominate each other and have their way. Somehow God will make it all right. He will do so by justice and righteousness (vs 4b). Somehow He will right every wrong ever committed.
In verses 6 & 7, God has sent His priests and prophets to declare His Word to us. Mankind, even believing mankind, is not sinless. God will indeed punish our “misdeeds.” But He is also, as verse 8 points out, a forgiving God, Who will not forsake His followers. We need to trust in Him.
He sent His Son to live with us, so He might know our shortcomings. Then that same Son died to pay the penalty for those sins. Thus, God can justly forgive us for our sins if we put our faith in Him.
Therefore, despite how bad things look on the outside, we can, as verse 9 says, “exalt the LORD our God.” He is making and will make all that is wrong, right in His good timeHis goo !!! Let us praise and be thankful to Him.
CH Jim Odell