The sky screams out the handiwork of God.
The Sun proceeds across the sky because God wants it to.
The day and night sing of the beauty and majesty of God.
Yet there is no sound from them, so how do we know any of it?
We know it because God has given us a way to know it.
Through the Bible we can know about God and learn about God.
It’s like this, my son is into legos right now. He loves legos. It started last year on vacation in Florida we all went to Legoland and now Samuel loves his legos. But legos these days aren’t like legos when I was a kid. These things take some serious time and have huge amounts of directions with them. I mean look at this, and these weird pieces now. Back in my day we had 4 bricks and you put them together and it was an airplane, a car, or a boat. That was it. Now they have ambulances and transformers and X-men legos and these are so complicated to put together.
I mean they have Lego sets of “Fallingwater” Who needs to build this? Frank Lloyd Wright already did so why do it again? I don’t get it. They even have legos that connect to a computer and can be fully animated. Seriously? Back in my day if I wanted my Lego car to drive I had to push it. I don’t get it.
Here’s the thing about Lego’s though, you can build anything you want. You can do anything yo want with legos. but if you want to build what is on the picture you need the directions. and those directions are like 80+ pages and not always written in a language I can read. but if we want the legos to look like the picture we need the directions.
And that is the key for us today. If you want your life to look like the picture God has designed we need to read the directions, the Bible.
Look at our scripture about it.
Vs. 7 God has given us a perfect instruction that revives our very being.
- For example: James 3:5 Even though the tongue is a small part of the body it boasts wildly.
- In other words we need to watch what we speak. It can do more damage then we realize.
- This instruction given by God will help our very being.
Vs. 8 The Lord’s regulations gladden the heart
- For example: Proverbs 27:14 “Greeting a neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning will be viewed as a curse.”
- Some people are morning people. When they show up all bubbly and excited early in the morning it makes those of us who are not morning people very angry and occasionally ends in cursing them.
- When we follow the regulations of God it makes our heart happy and makes us well-respected with our neighbors.
Vs. 9 Honoring the Lord is correct and lasts forever.
- Example: In Matthew 25 Jesus says that what we do for the least of these is what we do for Jesus and that our eternity will be judged based on how we helped the least of these.
- If we say we follow God then we also have to live that out and when we live out our belief we find that we have gained eternity.
The author in verse 10 says that the word of God is more desirable than gold. Even tons of pure gold! They are even sweeter than pure honey off the honeycomb!
The author goes on in verse 11 and says that there is a great reward in keeping the law of God.
Then there is a stark shift from 11 to 12 where the author begins to doubt himself. That it is quite possible that He has broken a law without knowing it, that somehow he has messed up and doesn’t know it.
I think if we go back to our lego example and we say that the Lego pieces are our lives then we have to acknowledge that we have these extra pieces and the directions don’t say what to do with them.
there are these lego pieces that aren’t in the picture and aren’t in the directions so what do we do with them?
I think that is an important feature of this Psalm. Sometimes there are extra things in our lives that we have to deal with and the reality is that the Bible doesn’t cover every topic and maybe there is something that we thought was okay and the Bible doesn’t mention and it turns out it was wrong. I mean the Bible doesn’t mention anything about downloading music from the internet, or the appropriate side of the road to walk on, or even what kind of translation of Bible to use, or big topics like stem cell research and how to raise kids after a divorce. Or even the terms to put in a DNR order for the doctor.
I mean these things are important and if the Bible is silent on them what happens if I get them wrong? What happens if I put the pieces in the wrong spot?
The question in verse 12 is a question of monumental importance. “What do I do with the pieces of my life that don’t fit neatly within the boundaries of scripture?”
And I think that is the question before us today. What do we do with those extra pieces in life?
I think if we are honest we deal with this topic a lot. When people go wrong, when life doesn’t turn out the way we want or we get a raw deal in a relationship or any number of things we don’t think should be part of our life. So what do we do with them?
The key to what we do is found right in Verses 13 and 14. We figure it out as best as we can with other scriptures and we pray for forgiveness from the unknown and the known sins.
We don’t willingly go out and sin, we don’t want to sin and we should not be saying to ourselves “I am going to go do whatever I want because God will still forgive me.” That is shady theology at best and down right wrong at worst. but there are times we sin and we don’t know it. and so yet there is forgiveness for those events.
But the question still exists, how do I figure out what to do? How do I know where the best place to put that piece of my life that doesn’t make sense.
Well, it’s like this. There are really 4 things to look at. As Methodists we call this the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, but really it is just a method for making decisions.
First, scripture. That is our primary example and our primary way to make decisions. but we already looked at ways in which sometimes scripture doesn’t have an answer so now what?
Second, tradition. What have we done in the past? Did it work? Did it fail? How can we use our history to tell us what our future should be?
Third, reason. What can we figure out using logic? God gave us a brain, maybe we should use it? So what can we figure out?
Last, what has our own experience been? What have we been a part of and how has that worked out?
After all of that we can usually figure out a pretty good decision that we then give the consequences up to God and try to go from there.
and that prayer is verse 14. that essentially is saying “God, I hope I am not messing this up may what I am doing be pleasing to you.”
And that’s what we need to do with the extra pieces, we struggle with them, pray over them, and offer them up to God and pray we are making the right decision.
Sometimes we will make the wrong decision, and God will show us that and so we ask forgiveness and try again.
So then, scripture is our primary way of relating to God and figuring out how to live our life and without the Bible and a working knowledge of the Bible you miss out on the most important lessons of life. But when there are topics scripture misses we can still figure out what God wants from us and what to do with our lives and we offer them up to God and ask that God be pleased with what we are doing.
I guess the question left is where do I start? How do I start the process of making decisions that are pleasing to God? The first thing to do is to start reading the Bible.
If I have never read the Bible what do I do? Well, first, get a Bible. We have some in the back go get one. Find one that you like and start reading. You can read it cover to cover but that is very hard to do because there are some boring parts. I would suggest getting a Bible reading plan, we have those in the back and in the plan there are readings for every day. Start with today and read it every day. That is a good place to start getting in to the word of God.
but let’s say you are a gadget nerd and why carry around one more book and paper? Why not save some trees? You can get an app for your smart phone that has the Bible and reading plans tailored for specific topics right on your phone for free. It’s called “YouVersion” and it has Bible plans for students, parents, doctors, retirees, and all kinds of plans.
For me, I don’t really use the bible plans, what I do is everyday I read whatever scripture I am preaching on the following Sunday. So for me, as of today I have read this scripture seven times.
Other people they read straight through books of the Bible and others will read a few chapters a day. What matters is not how you read it but that we are reading the Bible on a regular basis.
After that, start praying before you make decisions, think of the scripture you read and ask God to help you with your decisions.
You may not get an audible voice, although that happens. What happens more often is one decision is a little bit more clear or desirable or easier than the other.
It’s not always easy to make decisions. Some things are really hard to do. What job to take, what school to go to, there are some immensely painful decisions. but knowing what the Bible says will make those decisions at least a little easier.
So then, may you grow closer to God through scripture. May you use scripture to put the pieces of your life together the way God pictures it. and when you struggle with the unknown pieces may you ask God to forgive you and help you figure out what to do with them.