Saturday, August 15, 2015

Piper on Psalm 16

In light of our church's current sermon series on the Psalms and our pastors' encouragement to us to really own one of the Psalms, I decided to spend some time this weekend meditating on a psalm. Right after I made that decision, Desiring God shared a new sermon from John Piper on Psalm 16, so I am listening to it this morning, thinking that I will make it my goal to "own" Psalm 16 for the rest of the week.

It's an hour long sermon, so you might not have time to listen to it all at once (though if you do, it will be worth your time). Here's an excerpt I particularly enjoyed just now on using God's attributes to transform our prayers.

Now, what in the flow of that worship, happens to his petition (when you get to verse 8)? “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall NOT be shaken.” 
That’s not a request anymore; that’s an affirmation.
So the way I understand verses 1-8 is that what begins as an aching longing, “Preserve me, O God,” ends with, “I will not be shaken.” “I will be preserved,” “I will be kept,” “He will not let me be lost.” 
And the pathway from the petition, aching and longing, to the assertion and the affirmation and the confidence, is heralding and exalting in what God is for us. And I would simply commend to you that way of praying. Because almost all my beginning in prayer begin the way his does. 
I seldom begin a worship service or a time of prayer in solitude red hot for God, totally confident, this is going to go well. This day, he’s in charge, it’s going to go right, he’ll give me his guidance. My prayers don’t begin that way. They begin, “HELP!” Which is the way he began, right? “Preserve me, Oh God.” And then what do you do, stop and wait for confidence to happen? No, you do what he did … you declare … what He is for you, and you exalt in what He is for you. And after you do that, through “safe refuge” and “highest treasure” and “sovereign Lord” and “trusted counselor,” confidence is rising. And that’s the way this psalm flows.
Here's the whole sermon; stay tuned for a clip in which he talks about verse 3, "As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight."

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