Psalms 146:1-9 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.  While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.  Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.  His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.  Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:  Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:  Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: (8) The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: (9) The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
Baseball legend Yogi Berra (Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra) passed away September of 2015. He was a professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, and an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion. Whether you followed his career or not I’m sure you’ve heard some of his “Yogisms”, cute little sayings he made. He made statements like:
“A day without sunshine is like night”
“Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool”
“If the shoe fits, get another one just like it”
He was burning leaves one day when the fire got out of hand. He ran into the house and called the fire department, telling them that his yard was on fire and he needed help. The dispatcher asked, “How do we get to where you are?” Yogi responded, “Don’t you guys still have those little red trucks?”
Here’s a Yogism that is one of my favorites:
“Light travels faster than sound.
That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak”
I’ve never heard an atheist speak where I wasn’t astounded by his ignorance. The Bible says that the atheist is a fool. We are told twice in the Scripture “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 53:1; 14:1). Because he has said in his heart “there is no God” the atheist is corrupt, and he himself – like the leper of old – corrupts those whom he touches.
In a world without God there are no moral absolutes.
Without moral absolutes there is no agreed on right or wrong.
It is God – not democracy – that tells us what is right and what is wrong. The farther we draw away from the God of the Bible the more we are imprisoned by our lusts. The farther we draw away from the God of the Holy Scripture the farther we are from the light of truth. The more we try to carry our own burdens apart from the God Who loves us the more bowed down we are by the weight of life. We need God. We need to turn to God and trust Him with all our hearts. We need to love Him, and love the Lord Jesus Christ His only Begotten Son.
When I drive at night I can only see the few feet that are illuminated in front of my headlights. Sometimes when I’m driving and on a curvy, Tennessee road I want to tense up. I’ll begin to think “What about the road ahead? Is it there. Will it make a sharp turn or a twist too quickly for me to navigate? What if there’s a bridge that’s out?” As these thoughts pass through my mind I find myself riding the brakes and tensing up more and more. At those times I have to tell myself that it is not my job to build the road, nor is it my job to place signs along the side of the road. I must trust the road builders that they maintained the road I’m traveling. I must trust the sign builders that they will have a warning posted in advance of a stop or a sudden turn. In short, my job is to stay in the light and drive between the lines.
I didn’t build the highway or the terrain, nor even the car I’m in. But if I stay in the car and keep between the lines I am assured of a safe trip.
It is foolish to turn off the headlights and drive!
In our text today the Psalmist begins by praising God. Then the name of God, LORD, is used in FIVE STATEMENTS that I want us to briefly examine. There is a God, and we need Him!
1 Psalm 146:7 The LORD Looseth The Prisoners. The Great I AM Through Jesus Is The GREAT EMANCIPATOR. Our LORD Frees Us From Sin. We saw earlier in the text that man is temporary and created, but our God is the Creator. He is the One who “made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is” (vs 6).
The word “looseth” is the Hiphil Participle of the Hebrew NATHAR (pronounced naw-thar’), which literally means “keeps on causing to be set free”. The Bible tells us that the Lord – the Eternal I AM – keeps on causing the prisoners to be set free”.
Are you in bondage to moral slavery? Come surrendered to the Lord and He will set you free. In our world today people have redefined “sin” to be “disease” or “a life style choice”. Alcoholism is no longer sin, but it is a disease. Homosexuality is no longer sin, but it is a lifestyle choice.
Sin is not a disease, but it leads to disease. Sin cannot be treated with medicine. Only God can loose a person from the bondage of sin.
The Bible tells us that man is bound by chains of sin.
Romans 3:9-12 …. both Jews and Gentiles …. are all under sin;  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Both Jew and Gentile are under sin. Sin covers man, woman, and child. We are born totally without goodness. Our God through Jesus Christ His Son entered this world to:
Matthew 1:21 …. save His people from their sins.
Jesus saves His people. He saves His people from their sins. He saves and keeps on saving. Those He saves do not stay in their sins. Jesus declared ….
John 8:34-36 … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Those who sin and keep on sinning are the servants of sin.
The LORD – the Great Emancipator – FREES His people from sin.
2 Psalms 146:8 … The LORD Openeth The Eyes Of The Blind. Our Jesus Is The Great Illuminator. Man has never needed MORE LIGHT. Man needs MORE SIGHT. America needs to be made able to see.
You can put a blind person in a room and put as much light on him as you want, he still will not see it. We don’t need LIGHT. We need SIGHT.
We don’t need RELIGION. We need a RELATIONSHIP with Christ.
Jesus told the very religious Pharisees:
John 8:43-44 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because YE CANNOT HEAR MY WORD.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. ….
The unbeliever apart from God’s intervention cannot hear nor see the things of God. The Lord must open his spiritual eyes so that he can make a choice for or against Christ. Man is blind.
The great need of man is not more light. Man needs sight.
We have light, but light to a blind man means nothing. Hold the bulb to his eyes and – no matter how bright – the blind man cannot see. The God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness must open your eyes if you will ever see the things of God. The Bible declares that the
2 Corinthians 4:4 … god of this world (that’s Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The little “g” god Satan, also called the Devil, he and his minions love to blind.
They blind through advertising.
They blind through the sitcom.
Adrian Rogers once said that – and I paraphrase him – the sitcom (situation comedy) is the greatest tool that Satan uses against the Kingdom of God.
Will and Grace taught us that homosexuality is good.
The Modern Family that same sex couples can raise children in a humorous balanced household
Through Cosby we were taught that men are idiots and women the head of the household
And through Cheers (which is now on the children’s network Nicolodian) that drinking and drunkenness are not only acceptable, alcoholism is humorous!
The Devil, like Moe on the old Three Stooges programs,
is going around poking people in the spiritual eyes.
America needs SIGHT. It needs The Great Physician, Dr. Jesus!
3 Psalms 146:8 … The LORD Raiseth Them That Are Bowed Down. God Is Our COMFORTER. We are told in …
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (KJV) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
God is the One to Whom we run for comfort in our troubles. Our LORD Jesus Christ raises up those who are bowed down. We have all had times when trials seem to crush us. From the pauper to the prince, from the least to the most, from the famous to the infamous all have been tried by life. King David cried out:
Psalms 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
That which bows down our souls is the circumstances and people that come in contact with us every day. Every attack can make us better or make us bitter. If we cling to God in the attack we will be made better.
David cried before God. But in the very next verse he said:
Psalms 57:7 … My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Yes life sucks us down. It crushes our spirits. What shall we do when it seems as if all is falling down around me? Look up. Look to Jesus. Look to the LORD. He is The Comforter Who promises to be with us. Jesus invites the weary …
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU, AND LEARN OF ME; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Sadly, most who are burdened the most stayed home from Church tonight
They thought “I’m just too tired to go”
Yet staying home, they did not open their Bibles.
They did not seek The LORD’s Face.
They did not go to Him in prayer.
They turned the television on and lost themselves in the foolishness of it.
They forgot the trouble, rather than letting Christ solve the trouble. There is no blessing in this! Remember you have no better friend than the LORD. Remember those words of that great old song:
I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and MAKE ME FULLY WHOLE.
In sorrow He’s my COMFORT, in trouble HE’S MY STAY;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
4 Psalms 146:8 … The LORD Loveth The Righteous. The LORD Is The Great Lover Of His People. He gave us His righteousness through that Bloody Cross of Calvary. The Bible says that Jesus was
Romans 4:25 …. delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.
When you see a wormhole in an apple it’s there not because the worm is eating its way into the apple. The worm is eating its way out of the apple. The worm got in the apple because its egg was laid in the apple blossom. The apple forms around the worm egg. Humans are born into this life with sin in their core. The worm of sin is there when we are born. The problem is in our hearts.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
God knows the heart, and God can fix the heart, broken as it is, if we bring it to Him.
The Bible declares that in His love …
Romans 5:8-9 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Galatians 4:4-7 …. God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
God loves the world – but will not allow the unsaved worldling into His Heaven. God is redeeming a people to Himself through the Cross of Christ. If you are His by faith, He loves you. If you are not His then I tell you He died for you because He loves you. Come to Him surrendered and be saved, you and your whole household!
5 Psalms 146:9 … The LORD Preserveth The Strangers. This Has A Double Meaning.
a God Preserves Those Who Are Strangers To Him. God wants every person to be saved. He gives the wicked one more day of life because He wants that person to come to know Him through Christ. God wants those who are strangers to Him to come to Him and be saved. The Scripture says:
Ezekiel 33:11 (KJV) Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
2 Peter 3:8-10 (KJV) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
God will judge the wicked. Those who die rejecting Christ will go to a Devil’s Hell and be judged before a Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Damnation will come – but God preserves the strangers, giving them one more day, one more invitation, one more second to call on the name of Jesus.
b God Preserves His Church.
He Preserves His Church. The Bible says that we who are His are saved are …
Ephesians 2:19 (KJV) …. no more STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
We are not strangers to God. We are sons of God. But we are strangers to this world. We are a people set apart from this world because of Christ. God tells us as His Children to not minimize our distinctions, but CAPITALIZE and MAGNIFY them. Jesus tells us:
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
If you are born again you are not like you were before. You do not belong to Satan’s World, but to God’s Kingdom. You are strangers on this earth. God wrote in Peter …
1 Peter 2:9-12 (HCSB) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you as STRANGERS and TEMPORARY RESIDENTS to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.
We are “strangers and temporary residents or pilgrims” on this world. The world does not understand us. The world will not embrace us. But Beloved, The LORD will take care of us. He will “preserve” us as we cling to Him.
The word “preserves” is the Hebrew SHAWMAR (XNY pronounced shaw-mar’), which means, “to set a watch over, to guard round about, to set a protective hedge of thorns around”.
God cares for His Church. God watches over His Church. But His Church, His people, must stay in the boat with Him. We must walk with Him. We must talk with Him. We must magnify Him. Too many Churches have lowered the standard and let the darkness in in order to placate the world. This world and Christ’s Kingdom will always be at odds. Relax. God is always right. Stay on His straight and narrow.
May God touch your hearts with His Word.