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A Guide to Happiness and Holiness

By Brian Campbell

July 9, 2023

Obrigado por conferir este sermão. Se você se comove com o que ouve e está na área de Boston, considere visitar pessoalmente!

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Hey, good morning, everybody. It's one of those Sundays that's a little awkward in the room because it's less filled than normal. But it's for great reasons. We're having a church-wide Spanish service. So anyone who's Spanish speaking was invited to a special service going on in Waltham today. So many of our members are there. There's a campus conference going on. The teens are downstairs, getting a special teen lesson. And you are the staycationers or those who came back from the holiday weekend, and there are some that are still gone. It is what it is. But you are in for a treat. I really actually think today's sermon is probably my favorite one of the entire year so far. So buckle in, dive in, because we're kicking off a new series on the Book of Psalms. And I love the Book of Psalms. It's like my top grad school class I took was on the Hebrew Psalter. And I love it because you get a front-row seat into the heart of people wrestling with God. That anyone who sets out to follow God, love God, know God, or obey God, there's always an inner battle. There's always a tug and pull to please God, love God, follow God, follow Him.

Everything in between that brings up so many emotions because this world that we live in is filled with great things like joy and grace and blessings. It's also filled with tough things like loss, pain, and hardships, and nobody goes unscathed in life. No one can escape the challenges of life. And every follower of God has to wrestle with these things and have to embrace these things. That's why I love the Book of Psalms because we got 150 different hymns, laments, and Thanksgiving praise of people expressing their devotion to God while living in a broken, fallen world. I don't know about you, but I need that. When I hear other people connect to God, like, man, after a various community today, I'm like, we could all go home. Let's just go home right now. Finish the story and let's go home. That was awesome. When you hear other people wrestle with God, there are encounters and stories with God. It inspires you. And the Book of Psalms invites you line after line to see the inner battle of spiritual heroes as they wrestle with God. And I think one of the overall things that you'll find as you read the Hebrew Psalter is people are wrestling, and it's a guide to our lives.

And as they're expressing their praise and expressing their frustrations, they're trying to land in two places and God's joy that he gives them and for God to continue to help them with their holiness. That's why the series entitled A Guide to Happiness and Holiness. Happiness truly comes from God and holiness that sets us aside for God's purposes. And these are a lot of the main things that you see the writers wrestling with. And the things I'm going to share with you today and we'll discover in the next handful of weeks, it has transformed my life. When I first became a Christian, I didn't connect to the Psalms. I didn't spend a lot of time reading them. I oftentimes found myself confused. How do I apply this to my life? This class is some of the things we're going to teach. It has changed my walk with God, and I hope it does the same for you today. The air conditioner is bumping. It's comfortable in this room. You got space near you. We're going to do a little bit longer, deeper dive. Okay? We're going to go into an introduction to the Book of Psalms today.

About two-thirds of it is going to be an introduction, the last third is going to be like what you call a normal sermon of inspiration. Are you guys ready to dive in? All right. When you dive into any book in the Bible, it's good to know the history and structure of it. And the Book of Psalms is no different. The history, the structure, what brought it together, and how it's laid out help you to understand it. The Book of Psalms was collected and crafted over a 500-year period of time. From the days of David, who penned a lot of the Psalms, to the post-exile Jews coming back from Babylon, that is the time period where the Psalms were collected and they were crafted and put together, what we call the Book of Psalms or the Hebrew Psalter today. These 150 Psalms are not randomly selected. They're not organized by chance. They're inspired by God's Holy Spirit working through post-exile Jews to preserve and collect God's people's expressions to Him that would serve a purpose for all his followers for all time. What a crazy task. The Book of Psalms is broken up into five different books as you read it.

There are one, two, three, four, and five, and they each have a different purpose and different structure in there because each of the five books of the Hebrew Psalter depicts a time in Jewish history. And they collect the Psalms and organized and put them in that book to fit what was going on in Jewish history at that time. Dive in with me. Book 1 is an exciting one. It's about the golden age of the kingdom. It's about the rise of David, him becoming God's anointed one. And the ups and downs of him answering God's call to become a king and a man after God's own heart. And there are ups and downs, there's all around because there was a period of time where God anointed him. But there are many years in between before he actually became king of Israel. And so it's inspiring to see this battle. Many of these Psalms are collected are depicting what was going on during that time. In Psalm 1 and Psalm 2, most of the theologians think that that's like the thesis statement for the whole Hebrew Psalter, that what you find, the themes and the things introduced in Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 is a thesis statement.

It's an introduction to what you're going to find throughout the whole Hebrew Psalter. So these 41 Psalms are reflections of David's heart, his feelings, his insecurities, his fears, and God working powerfully in spite of all those things. Book 2, okay, introduces new players to the Hebrew Psalter. We got the Corites, we got the Aspites, we got the Solomon, we got the Priestley singer. We got different people coming in. And this is like the highlight of David, the transformation of Solomon being king. It's good times. And you get to see that reflected in Book 2. As you get to Book 3, it's not so good. These events take place during the divided kingdom. This is where Israel is up north, Judah is down south, and God's people are wavering and truly trusting in him and following him. And there's a lot of outside influence of surrounding cultures, people trying to press them and fight against them. And you get to find in Book 3, pain and hardship as the kingdom is falling. And you get to see that they're still battling this heart to want to trust in God, but they're wavering.

That's what you find in Book 3. Book 4, as you look into the Jewish history, is when they're in exile. These are Psalms reflective of their time when they were living outside of Jerusalem, outside of the promised land in exile in a foreign country, in a foreign land, despised and dispersed throughout. And they're called to rely completely on God. And by the way, I'll send these slides out later to you in an email, so you can just follow along. But these Psalms call God's people to look back to what it looks like to truly follow God wholeheartedly and to remind them they don't need an earthly king to be satisfied. What they need more than anything is a heavenly king. And you get to see in these Psalms, there's a call back to God is king. He is Lord. And the things that matter to them about Jerusalem or their own country or their own culture matter less. What matters is God is their king. And you find a lot of Psalms of Thanksgiving and kingship Psalms in this book. Book five is this period of time when they've come back from exile. They're re-establishing the Torah, the law.

People's hearts are coming back. People from that have been dispersed are coming back. They're being unified. They're praising God. The theme that dominates book five is God is king. They see their need that he needs to be their provider, their protector, their sustainer in this new life. And in these Psalms, you see, once again, this call back to obey God's word, that that's the true compass in the direction that they need to go. And what's amazing is when you know why books 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, what periods of Jewish history those reflect, and what the post-exile Jews are trying to teach the current community and all the communities that would follow, including us today, you start to understand the structure and the history a bit more, and it determines and changes how you read it. There's a direct correlation between Israel's history and the structure of the Book of Psalms, and each one reflects a certain period of time. I know about you, but my life isn't always the golden age, is it? It's not always Book 1. It's not always Book 2. It's not always Book 3. It's hopefully not Book 4 for very long. Book 5 is good.

But you know what I'm saying? But you find yourself in different seasons, in different places of your life, that different Psalms connect to you. You ever notice that some Psalms you overlooked in the past and you read them a couple of years later, you're like, how did I never see this before? Because it meets you where you're at. Different Psalms are expressing where different followers of God were at. And so you connect at different ones at different times. That's the beauty of this collection of 150 Psalms here to help you connect to God's heart as you see others wrestle with them, too. These Psalms, these prayers, and these community expressions shaped the post-exile Jewish community. And it called them back to get ready for the Messiah coming. It's amazing to see here. And as we go through different seasons alive, you'll appreciate the Book of Psalms more and more. There are three tools that have really helped me to get the most out of reading the Hebrew Psalter, reading the Book of Psalms. I want to share those with you today. They're up there. You got to simplify the Psalms. You got to identify what type of Psalm it is, and you got to figure out how to pick it apart so that you can get the most out of it.

And when you understand the basic components and characteristics of Hebrew poetry, it helps you to read the Psalms and to get more and more out of it. It's pretty amazing. And then there are different styles of Psalms, if you know which style you're reading, it helps you to better interpret it and apply it to your lives. So we're going to dive into some of these tools together. The first one is simplified. You got to simplify it, which I like that word. Anything simplified is great in my life. But I don't know if you've ever read a Psalm and you get halfway through and you're like, What on Earth am I reading? What are they talking about? How does this apply to me? It can be very overwhelming to just pick up a Psalm and read it and expect to find yourself where the writers at. And so to simplify it, it helps to look at it in smaller segments. I'll just use Psalm 42 as an example. But the smallest portions of Hebrew poetry are called lines. Lines dictate a certain expression that's going on. If you can break a Psalm down to its lines, and lines aren't determined by the verse.

Sometimes there are multiple lines in one verse. Sometimes one line continues into two verses. But if you can break it down as you read it into lines, lines are trains of thoughts or things that they're trying to express. The writer is trying to express. Psalm 42, verse 1 says, As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, oh God. This is a solid line. One strain of thought that as a deer is thirsty and needing relief is what my soul feels that only God can provide. It's a solid line. Later on in Psalm 42 Verse 9, you get to see two lines in one verse. And the reason why I'm showing this is because if you try to read it verse by verse, sometimes you can be confused even by that. But Psalm 42, Verse 9 says, I will say to my God, my rock, why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning an oppressed by my enemy? As you can see, line one and line two, have different trains of thought, and different expressions there that should be read separately to get the full context instead of just by the verse.

Now, in the New Testament or other biblical writers, you can go verse by verse and get a good understanding. With poetry, you got to slow down even more. Slow down, and read it line by line. Feel the weight of each expression. That's how it was designed to be. You feel the weight of each expression. Pick and identify different characteristics, and different things that they're trying to express. A big part of Hebrew poetry is parallel lines that they draw between expressions. It's called parallelism. It's a weird word to say out loud. But Hebrew poetry is defined by parallels. Parallels are correspondence or relationships found within a line. Okay, so we broke down what a line is. Within a line, there's correspondence and there's reflections that are made. If you can draw those lines together and connect those dots, you get to understand what they're expressing more and more. And parallels can sometimes be identified theoretically, structurally, or by themes. But you'll find similarities within each line. And one of the best ways to identify what a parallel statement is is if he says the same thing twice but in different ways. Do you ever notice that? That the Book of Psalms, he said the same thing twice but in different ways.

And have you ever noticed that sometimes you need the same thing said twice but in different ways? Sometimes Christina could say one thing and a friend could say another thing, almost the exact same thing, but I can hear one differently at times. Life is like that. So is poetry. I'm grateful because you get a deeper understanding of it. But in Psalm 42, verse 1, we'll look at this one again, As dear pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. The parallels between the dear panting for water and the dire need that his soul is feeling to be connected and refreshed by God. Do you see the parallel? It connects there. Now, you may have never seen the deer panting in Boston, Massachusetts, but you've certainly seen the dog panting and animal panting. with that same expression, the writer wants you to connect to your inner soul's thirst for God. And it's called imagery, which we'll jump into again. But poetry is filled with imagery. I want you to see something when you read it and connect your heart and emotion and a place of life to it. Because the more you can see something and hear it and connect to it, the more it resonates with your inmost being.

And that's what you find in poetry as we go down here. But as you break down lines, you get to see this correspondence and these parallel lines that get drawn. And then the imagery comes to life. Imagery is powerful. Imagery is words that help you to see something, feel something, and identify a place in life with one single word. Don't you feel it on some of your all-time favorite Psalms that have ever played on the radio? I could hear a song that I haven't heard in 20 years come up on the radio or nowadays, Spotify, and it takes me to a certain place at a certain time in my life, that's imagery. You're connecting to words that take you somewhere, that help you to experience something. That's what Hebrew poetry does. That's what the Book of Psalms does. It uses vivid imagery, words that are supposed to take you somewhere. It's supposed to leave a taste in your mouth. You're supposed to hear something. You're supposed to feel something. But if you read it too fast, you miss it, which is why you got to slow down and simplify. One of my favorite passages, Psalm 42, Verse 7, Deep calls to deep, and the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

So much imagery packed into one line. As deep calls to deep. Think about some of the deepest Lakes I've ever seen. Connecting is how God connects to me. The roar of your waterfalls. Have you ever been next to a raging waterfall, and you can't even hear yourself think? You can't hear anyone around you. It just silences and steals everything. All your ways and breakers have swept over me. You know how helpless you feel in big ways and the rip current ripping you out? What? The writer is trying to take you to a place, trying to help you see, taste, and feel. It's called imagery. When you combine that with the context of the Psalm and what the writer is trying to express, that's when the Psalm really comes to life. It's when you start to put yourself in the writer's shoes. And as they battle and wrestle with God, you get to connect with your own battle and wrestle with God. Are you guys with me? I know it's like, okay, this is not what we expect to come to church today, but hang in there with me. Two, identify, there are different types of poetry found in the Hebrew Psalter.

You want to identify which one you're reading because you may be confused if you don't know what you're reading or what the writer is trying to express, there are five major categories found in the Book of Psalms that you'll see. Some are individual prayers, some are communal worship, and some are collective altogether, but you get to dive into it. The most popular one is hymns. These are identified by enthusiastic, reverent, all-struck praise and prayers to God. That a community or a person is coming together and praising God for who He is in his proper state of being powerful, of being loving, of being patient, of his mercy. These hymns are positive. They're upbeat. The keyword to know whether or not you're reading-wise is there is a bunch of praise going on. If there's a bunch of praise, it's a hymn. And you can check out some of these later. There were some sample ones that you can dive into what does a hymn look like? But that dominates you find throughout the Psalms. Lament is another one that you see in there. Lament is identified by someone's direct appeal to God. They're begging God.

They're pleading with God. They're appealing to God to work in their lives, that they are stuck, that they are absolutely helpless without his intervention and without his direct influence on a situation. And when you read a lament, you get to see them go from a sad beginning to an upbeat ending. You get to see them go from a negative to a positive. You get to see them go from a plea to praise. It starts off downcasted and it ends in a positive place. And I love that because when you wrestle with God long enough, don't you end up in a positive place? I can come through them in the dumps, but I can end in a good place. That's what you find in the sense there. There are different ones that you can check out there that are popped up on the screen. Psalms of Thanksgiving. These are expressing joy and gratitude for God delivering them. It's that celebration Psalm of how God has redeemed them and how God is working. Sometimes it's an individual Psalm of Thanksgiving. Sometimes they're calling others, to come and thank God with me. As a community, let's praise God.

As a community, let's thank God. That's a Psalm of Thanksgiving for God's divine intervention. There are Psalms called confidence Psalms. These are tricky to identify. It sounds like a lament because the person is in trouble, but it ends with more of a Psalm of thanksgiving. It's a hybrid of the two mixed together as a confidence Psalm because they're turning to God. If you ever read a Psalm, it says, My God is my shelter. He is my rock. He is my deliverer. He is my strong tower. Psalms use God as a strong fortress, deliverer. Those are Psalms of confidence. They're depicting how strong God is in their life, no matter what's going on in and around them. The last one is wisdom. When you find a wisdom Psalm, you feel like, am I in Ecclesiastes? Am I in Proverbs? This sounds like a little bit like Job. It's reflective of other wisdom literature that helps you to live out a godly life and to follow God's words and to obey him and implement his teachings. You get to find this all over the place. When you find a good wisdom Psalm, you always see them calling people to trust in God.

Let's get to a little bit more like the less teachy part. It's this last one. You got to diversify what you're doing. We're going to pick a Psalm today. We're going to pick Psalm 34, and we're going to dive into this a little bit. I don't have the time. I got like 10 minutes left, so we're not going to read the whole Psalm. But we're going to pick Psalm 34. Whenever you pick a Psalm, it's important that you read its heading. Not all Psalms have any insights into their headings, but some do. And I tell you what, who wrote them? Is this a Psalm of praise? Is this a communal Psalm? You get insight with it. In some Psalms, you get what was going on in the writer's life. That's why I love Psalm 34 because it gives us some insight. So before you dive into Psalm 34, you read its heading. Let's read the heading of Psalm 34. It's from David. It's in Book 1, which is depicting the ups and downs of David becoming king. And we get to see this cool heading. It says, Of David, when he pretended to be insane before Amletchik, who drove him away and he left.

What is that? Well, I need to go back and look through 1 Samuel or second Samuel and see what was going on. If you look at 1 Samuel 20, 21, 22, it depicts this story of David on the run that Sol is trying to kill him, and he's on the run. And his only way to get out is going to enemy territory, the Philistines. He says, If I go there, they're going to kill me. I'm the one who's been slaying all their people. I'm like one of the most valiant warriors Israel has ever had. You know what? If I go there and act insane, they may not kill me. So he dresses and rags. He rolls around in manure. He's stinky. He's smelly. And he gets there and he's drooling. There's saliva going down his beard. He's mumbling before the Philistine King. And they're like, Why did you bring this madman to me? It's David. Does this look like a valiant warrior to you? No, but he's insane. Maybe I can use this insane guy to kill Israelites. All right, let's keep him alive and see what happens. That's David's state when he writes this Psalm.

He's on the run. People are trying to kill him. He's pretending to be insane. He has no friends with him. He's in rags. He's dripping saliva down just to stay alive. Well, that's going to change how we're going to read the following verses, right? And it's going to change what imagery you see as you read these verses. It's important to read that. And then once you identify where the Psalm comes in the place, read the whole Psalm, we won't read it this time, but you read the whole Psalm, start to end. Most of them are pretty short. And then you break it down line by line, parallel by parallel, imagery by imagery, and you'll watch it come to life beautifully. Remember what I said in the beginning, one of the themes that you can find is people wrestling with God to find joy, to be happy in a relationship with them. You also see people wrestling to remain holy and for God to create holiness in them that they cannot do on their own. Let's look at Psalm 34 and find those two features together. Are you guys ready? Okay. It is an individual hymn of Thanksgiving.

So it individual means it's just David saying this. And he's expressing it's a Psalm of Thanksgiving to God, which I don't know how thankful you would be in that moment. But he thought it was appropriate to express thanks to God for sparing his life and keeping the dream alive and for him becoming king and being used by God. Let's read Psalm 34 verses 1 through 6 together. I will exalt the Lord at all times. His praise will be on my lips. Let's just pause for a moment. I will exalt the Lord at all times. His praise will be on my lips. Even when I'm on the run, even when my own king is trying to kill me, even when I'm with the enemy, even when my future seems so unknown, I can't see past this very hour, even when I'm separated from friends, even when I'm separated from family, even when I do not have a reason to be happy, I do have a reason to exalt the Lord. His praise can never be on my lips, regardless of my circumstances. We can go home right there. That's challenging enough, right? Praise for God. Praise for God.

God and exulting him is on his lips, even in a very dark moment. Verse 2, I will glory in the Lord. Let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me. Let's exalt his name together. I love this. If you're hurting, glorify the Lord. If you're afflicted, just like I am, praise the Lord. We can all rejoice in the glory of the Lord, regardless of her hurting, regardless of her shame, regardless if we're separated from our friends and family, we can all rejoice in the Lord. Verse 3, I sought the Lord and he answered me. He delivered me from all my fears. David is so afraid. He's in the enemy's bedroom. He's so afraid. Anyone could take his life at any moment. He can trust no one. But each time he seeks the Lord, each time he sought him and turned to him, God answered him and delivered him. Isn't that powerful? He has nowhere to turn. But when he turns to God, he was always answered. He was always delivered. In the next verse, Those who look to him are radiant. Their faces are never covered with shame. David is utterly ashamed. This handsome, ruddy man is in rags rolling around manure, pretending to be insane.

He's living with unclean people. He's defiled according to the Levitical law. He is ashamed. But yet in this past, he said, those who look to God are and their faces are never covered with shame. See, when you look to God, when you seek God, he makes you radiant from the inside out. Regardless of what shame or what the world is throwing your way, when you look to the Lord, he makes you radiant. This poor man, the next line, This poor man called, and the Lord heard him. He saved him out of all his troubles. David has so many troubles at this very moment. Nothing is his own. But yet the Lord listened to him and saved him. Saved him from it all. I love verse 9, Taste and see that the Lord is good. He's invited everyone. I got the best apple. Take a bite, take a bite, taste, and see how awesome God is. It does not matter what's going on in your life. Everyone, any of us can taste and see how good God is. Wow. Everyone can be this happy in spite of their circumstances. David has horrible circumstances. Would we all agree?

But on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy does he sound? I'd say he's like an 8 or 9. He could be a little bit more. We see him a little bit happier in other Psalms, but I mean, he's right there. If I was in David's shoes, I'd be a solid two, and I'd be proud of that moment. But it's embarrassing because I look at where he's at in his circumstances. And sometimes I think my happiness is dependent on my circumstances, don't you? But actually, it's dependent on my connection to God. That's what makes me happy. That's what makes me joyful. That's what gives my heart peace. That's what gives my life rest. To you, I have 1 to 10. How happy were you walking in this morning? I don't know if I'd see many nines in the room. I don't think any of us had more daunting circumstances than David did this morning. I want to grow. We need to grow in finding our happiness and joy in God in spite of our circumstances. Amen to that. Friday was a bad day. It wasn't a David day, but it was a bad day.

I'm on the phone with a friend at Starbucks. I didn't want to go inside because it was like a sensitive conversation. So I'm sitting in this shaded area and I was looking out in the parking lot and I parked away from other cars. Every accident I've ever been in happens in a parking lot. I always park away. I'm sitting there, I just see this nice brand-new Jeep just pull in and whack my car. I'm on the phone with my friend. I'm like, Dude, our car just got drilled. He's like, You should probably go deal with that. I'm like, Yeah, I should. I hang up. But I'm at Starbucks to work on this sermon, which is a guide to happiness and holiness. I'm like, Okay, all right. How do I be happy about this situation? So I walk up, the lady gets up, I'm like, Wow, that sure was a big bang. She's like, A bang? What happened? She's limping and she's older. I'm like, Oh, your car hit my car right here. She's like, That looks old. She rubs it all. This paint comes off. It's on her head. She's like, Oh, no, just look at the front of your car.

She goes up there and she's like, Oh. I'm like, Yeah, there was a bang. She's like, This is my first outing since the knee replacement. And I haven't driven and I could tell it was her right leg. I'm like, Yeah, maybe there's a little sensory and touch issues right now, but yeah, that just happened. She always started going, My husband's going to be so mad. And I'm like, You know what? He may be. And we talked a little bit and I'm like, Hey, how about you call your husband? Tell him what happened. See how he wants to handle it. I'm not mad. I'm going inside Starbucks. We're all there. Let's get each other's info and all that stuff. So she gets her info. She calls her husband. She goes and meets with her friend. She was meeting a friend that day. And then I go in. I even texted her and I'm like, This is so awkward. I'm going to Starbucks. It's a crowded Starbucks. And this woman just nailed my car and she's crying. But I have to work on my sermon. Going home is not an option. I will not get this done.

So I go in. I'm sitting there and her friend came up to me almost in tears. She said You were so nice to my friend who whacked your car. And I'm like, I'm working on happiness right now, and I don't want to make her day worst. I'm like, I'm working on this. But if I wasn't working on it, I would have responded with anger and frustration, which makes me think I should work on my happiness every day. Maybe you should, too. Short and ending, Holiness. In every Psalm you see them battling for Holiness, for God to set them apart for special use, for God to give them a pure heart, for God to sanctify them, for God to refine them. Let's read in a few verses here, and then we'll land this plane. It's going a little bit longer than I thought. But like I said, the air conditioner is bumping and no one's touching me next to you, so it's good. All right, there's no elbow-rubbing. Let's talk about holiness. I don't know how you feel about Holiness, but if I was rejected and despised by my own king who I'd serve valiantly, and I'm on the run and I'm with my enemy and I'm biblically unclean, I would just feel broken.

I would feel rejected by God. I would feel like he doesn't want me. How could he still use me? That's what I would be wrestling with in my own insecurity. Here's David. You're going to find that fear of the Lord is a common link to holiness. You're going to see this link here. Verse 7 through 15, read this. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. God is close to those who fear Him. Just like military army camps around their king and puts them in the middle is what the angel of the Lord does to those who fear him, fear the Lord. He camps around them and protects that person. Isn't that cool imagery? I got a spiritual military camp around me. If I choose to fear the Lord, that's an image I do not want to lose. But proper fear of God, it's reverence, it's loyalty, it's obedience, it's a reverence of who he is, his power, his strength that leads to obedience in my life. That's fear of the Lord. When you fear something, it's all-consuming, right? There are some phobias out there.

I have a phobia of snakes. I hate snakes. I'll run and scream like a little girl. When I'm around an area where there are snakes that could be present, it's all-consuming. Every stick, every piece of rope, every movement is a snake. And it's passed on to my daughter, Aspen, on our prayer walk, she'll say, Snake. But it's not a snake and I have to pretend to run. And it's a game that we play now. But it is my life. When you fear the Lord out of love and reverence and respect, he becomes all-consuming in your life. His love, his adoration, it consumes you. That's what it means to fear the Lord. Next verse, Taste and see that the Lord is good. Bless is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you holy people. For those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. What's the most ferocious creature in the Middle East? It's a lion. It's a lion. He's saying even the Lions grow weak, tired, and hungry. They lose their fieriness. They lose their fight.

But those who fear the Lord and seek him lack no good thing. That's an imagery right there. If I fear and seek the Lord, I lack no good thing. I can be fierce. This is the next verse, Come, my children, listen to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is something that can be taught. You should be teaching your children proper respect for God. Your roommates, your friends. It's caught. It's observed. It's learned. You see a man or a woman who fears the Lord. The Lord, you learn from them. It's a reverence about them that's attractive that you see in their lives. The next line, whoever of you loves his life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it. See, proper fear of God motivates you to guard your tongue from slander, from deceit, and from lies. It motivates you to be pure, to be holy, to be righteous, to deny what is evil, and to do what is good. When you fear the Lord, it creates holiness in you.

And David said You want to know how I remained holy in this exiled land of my enemies on the run, not trusting anyone, spiritually unclean? Do you know how I stayed holy? I feared the Lord more than I feared the enemy. I feared the Lord more than I feared my own countrymen. I feared the Lord. Is that not a key for you and me to remain holy? To fear the Lord. On a scale of 1 to 10. How was your level of fear of the Lord this morning? David's a solid 10, I'd say. Nine or 10 right there. He's teaching, he's preaching about it. It kept him. It preserved him. It guided him. It led him to who he became. I think we all need to grow in our happiness, but we need to grow in our holiness. Fearing the Lord leads us to purity. It leads us to garden our tongues. It leads us to do what is good. It helps us to find peace. What areas of your holiness do you want to fear the Lord more in? As we go through this, it's almost nine weeks because next week we're in Bridgewater. And then Kevin Miller, our lead evangelist, is going to come at the beginning of August, which is going to be amazing.

And there's a youth and family service after teen camp. So we're going to have some breaks in between this series. But over the next nine weeks, something like 63 days or so, if you read 2-3 Psalms a day, you'll read all 150 Psalms found in the Bible. Some days you can go slow, line by line, image by image, parallel by parallel. Some days, maybe just read them while you're eating breakfast. It won't take very long. Dive into the Hebrew Psalter. Dive into this preserved expression of God's people and let it produce in your happiness and holiness that can only come from God. Amen? Amen. I'll see you next week. Bridge waters.


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