I Am Not a god

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Turn with me in your Bibles to Psalm 117.

Opening Illustration: A cowboy rode into town, and saw a crowd gathered around a gallows. The hangman standing by, there was a man clothed in leaves and branches. Everything he was wearing BADLY was leaves. The cowboy dismounted his horse, and went toward the crowd. He whispered to another townsman standing there, “Are they getting ready to hang this guy?” He replied, “Yes we are, stranger. This man kept telling us he was a bush, and kept dressing up like he was a bush. We warned him to stop it, but he refused. So we’re hanging him!” The cowboy said, “Hanging him because he says he’s a bush?” The townsman said, “No. We’re hanging him because he won’t stop rustling”.

Yeah, that’s a “dad joke”, or you might think a “bad joke”. But it’s a good introduction to the message today. Every time I turn on the television or radio, I hear people pushing “You do you, and I’ll do me”. According to the Progressive mind so prevalent today we as humans can make ourselves into anything we want to be. If I’m born a woman, I can be a man with enough surgery. If I’m a man, I can have radical surgery and hormones and breastfeed babies. In fact, some say that men can get pregnant. If I wake up and think I’m a kitten or a dog, then what I say is reality. I can bark or meow, and you must treat me as a “furry”.

We want to be God. We think we are God. We Aren’t God.

This mentality creeps into the churches – even our Church. It creeps into your Pastor. I was praying this past Monday and felt like God told me to “Go to the middle of My Book”. So I went to Psalm 117. I kept trying to “get a sermon” out of this text until God reminded me, “You are not God. You are David.” So I stopped trying to make a sermon, and asked God what He wanted me to say. Read with me:

Psalm 117 O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. 2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 117 is not only the middle chapter of the Bible,
but it’s the shortest chapter in the Bible.

Don’t let this confuse you. Psalm 117 is packed with great truth. If the Bible were an Oreo©, Psalm 117 would be that creamy center that holds it together. Psalm 117 is one of the SIX Hāllel” or “Egyptian” Psalms (Psalms 113 through 118), so named by the Jews because they focus on praising God for His goodness and grace. The first and last words of this Psalm are:

Psalm 117 O praise the Lord … Praise ye the Lord

which is the Hebrew Hālal Yᵊhōvâ. The Hāllel was recited or sang before, during, and after many of the Jewish Feasts. Our Lord Jesus sang Psalm 117 & 118 just before His crucifixion. We are told in …

Matthew 26:30 (ESV) when they had sung a hymn (hymneō), they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Throughout the Bible we are COMMANDED to Hālal Yᵊhōvâ or “Hālal yâ” – Praise the Lord – over 250 times. Those who were most successful in our faith focused on Praising God. King David prayed:

Psalm 119:160-164 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. 161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. 162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.

It is no wonder that David was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). David focused on praising God for the blessings – and even the cursings – in his life. Why are we to praise God? A few years ago an unbeliever named Michael Prowse wrote an open letter in the London Financial Times. He wrote:

Worship is an aspect of religion that I always found difficult to understand. Suppose we postulate an omnipotent being who, for reasons inscrutable to us, decided to create something other than himself. Why should he . . . expect us to worship him? We didn’t ask to be created. Our lives are often troubled. We know that human tyrants, puffed up with pride, crave adulation and homage. But a morally perfect God would surely have no character defects. So why are all those people on their knees every Sunday?”

God does not command us to worship Him because He is arrogant or prideful. God commands us to worship Him because we need to constantly remind ourselves, “I am not God”.

Only God is God. People are constantly asking me to be God. I cannot be God. I’ve been asked about the upcoming revival: “What if the revival gets rained on? What if there are mosquitoes? What if its too hot? What if a hurricane or tornado comes? The field is rough – somebody might twist an ankle!” Listen Beloved, I am not God. You are not God. We are to worship God the best way that we can, and constantly remind ourselves that we are not God. God is God. God is God.

Psalm 117 O praise the Lord … Praise ye the Lord

Our God is the LORD. He is Yᵊhōvâ. He spoke to Adam and told him:

Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV) … “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Adam heard Yᵊhōvâ. God made the instruction very clear. YOU, Adam, may not eat of it. God said nothing of Eve, but of Adam. God said, “Adam, I alone am God. You work for Me. You praise Me. You obey Me, and you will be blessed. But if you try to take on MY JOB, it will kill you!” Enter the Serpent. Adam sees the Serpent. Adam knows the command. Adam hears the Serpent (who is Satan – see Revelation 12:9) tell the woman:

Genesis 3:4-5 … (ESV) “You will not surely die {if you eat that which God forbade}. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Adam was intrigued. Yᵊhōvâ told him not to eat of this tree – but now this snazzy, talking serpent told him it was all right to do. Adam wanted to be like God. What did he do? He tried being God. The Bible tells us that Adam’s little experiment to be God did not work. We are told:

Romans 5:12 (ESV) … sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

Romans 5:19 …. by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners

We praise the LORD because He alone is Yᵊhōvâ. We praise Him because He is God and we are not. We praise God not just on Sunday, but we worship Him throughout the week because He is God and we are not! The Bible says:

Psalm 96:4 (ESV) … great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

There is only one “Capital G” God, and He is the God of Scripture. All other “small g” gods are figments of our imagination. When I was a little boy I prayed to Jesus and to Santa Claus. I asked Jesus and Santa Claus to come into my room every night. I imagined Jesus riding in the sleigh with Santa, circling over my bed, driving away the horrible demons that hid in the dark under it. Santa is a wonderful concept, a spirit of giving – but Santa is no god. Santa is actually a secularized version of a Christian named Nicholas, who lived around 280 AD in Patara, near Myra, Turkey. He traveled the country side, giving away all he had to help the poor and sick. Saint Nicolas never rode in a sled, and he was not a god – though He was saved by believing on our God. Only the God of Scripture is God. God told His Old Covenant people Israel:

Isaiah 44:6 … the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

There is no God but our God. Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9). We who are Christian affirm that for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:6). The idols that people follow are nothing but man made gods. “We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one” (1 Corinthian 8:4).

Idols hurt people. When Adam tried to be God, he hurt the whole world. We are all born into sin because Adam did what he did. Idols hurt people today. In India there is a Temple where people worship rats. People bring food to the Temple, feeding these creatures and praying to them, even as these nasty animals carry

“… hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia and Salmonella. Wild rodents also may cause considerable property damage by chewing through wiring in homes, car engines, and other places”.

In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Mauritius people are starving to death, while cattle are worshiped by the Hindu faith. Hindus believe that each cow contains 330 million gods and goddesses. At festivals honoring Krishna, priests shape cow dung into images of the god. (Source: “Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches” by Marvin Harris, Vintage Books, 1974). India has more cattle than any other country in the world, but they may not be eaten, but only worshiped – along with monkeys, cobras, and other snakes.

Hāllel Psalm 115:3-8 (ESV) Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

Idolatry starves and kills a people. We may not worship cows, monkeys, or other animals, but we as Americans worship many things. We worship sports. We worship politicians. We worship things. We worship ourselves. Hey, “You just be You, and I’ll be Me”. You can be anything you want to be. This is idolatry. Only God is God.

Only God Is God, And Praise God, He Is Merciful To All!

Psalm 117 O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. 2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us

A Jewish prayer book of the Apostle Paul’s day – back in the early Church – had a well known and ancient prayer that the men of the Synagogue said weekly. The prayer was:

I thank You, O God, that You have made me a Jew, and not a Gentile.
I thank You, O God, that you have made me free, and not a slave.
I thank You, Lord God, that You have made me male, and not female.

That prayer may have made some of you uncomfortable. It sounds as if the early Jew believed that Gentiles (that’s us), slaves, and women are all inferior to Jewish men. The Jewish women would pray:

I thank You, O God, that You have made me a Jew, and not a Gentile.
I thank You, O God, that you have made me free, and not a slave.
I thank You, O God, that You have made me according to Your will.

So a Jewish woman prayed, believing she was better than Gentiles (that’s us) or a slave. Yet when God commands us to praise Him, what does He command?

O praise the Lord, all ye nations

The nations is the Hebrew gôy, which means “Gentiles, non-Hebrew people”. God calls on the NATIONS or the GENTILES to FIRST praise God. Then the Lord says:

praise Him, all ye people

The people is the Hebrew ʼummah, a reference to Israel. God wants the whole world to praise Him, for God equally values every person. There are no second class people with our God. Every person made is a person God made, and made on purpose. There are no mistakes with God. When God called an old man from Ur of the Chaldees named Abram to follow Him, God told this childless man:

Genesis 12:1-3 … “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God told Abram, who would become Abraham “I will make of you a great nation. God would give Abraham a child, and through that child God would create the nation Israel. But God went on to tell Abraham in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. The word families is the Hebrew Mishpâchâh, which means “every class of people, every tribe, every kind”. It was never God’s intention to be God over just Israel, or just a select few. God calls all people to Him to worship. God was going to bless all of fallen humanity. He would use Israel to do this.

God would use imperfect and broken Israel to bring the Savior into the world. God used Israel to give us all Jesus.

God created Israel through a childless Abraham and a barren Sarah. God would give Abraham the power and stamina to have a child with Sarah, and God would make Sarah fertile. But God would do a much greater miracle through Israel. God prophesied that He Himself would enter this world as a Perfect and Sinless Man. God said in:

Isaiah 7:14 … the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The word Immanuel” (ʿimmānû’ēl) means “with us is GOD”. Eternal God would become Perfect Man through a virgin birth. Why? Why would God so lower Himself? Because … hear me …

Psalm 117 O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. 2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us

We cannot save ourselves. Adam’s sin brought sin to all his progeny – that’s us. From the time Adam was cast from Eden with Eve, to this day and beyond, we are ALL SINNERS. A sinner cannot fix a sinner.

Romans 3:23 … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Man tried to be God and lost Paradise. So how can man return to Paradise. Only God can do this for us. Only God can save us.

Romans 3:24-28 … Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

God the Father – through the Holy Spirit – sent His Son into humanity through a virgin. The Angel Gabriel told that virgin:

Luke 1:35 The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

That same Angel Gabriel told Joseph, the betrothed of Mary,

Matthew 1:20-23 Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

God’s only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, came into this earth through a virgin. Jesus came to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of God’s Israel. To whom did Jesus come? For us all, whether Jew or Greek, whether Bond or Free, whether Male or Female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Jesus came for every person, no matter how broken. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why do you eat with sinners?”. Jesus replied:

Matthew 9:13 … I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

As the Pharisees continued to criticize Jesus, He held firm, declaring:

Mark 2:17 … They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

God entered this world as a Perfect Man. The Messiah was prophesied to come to us.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful {,} Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Jesus Christ came into this world – eternally with the Father, very God of very God – and lowered Himself to be like us (yet without sin). Jesus then walked among us, doing miraculous deeds, doing good where ever He went. Yet His primary mission on this earth was to be the One Who would give us all access to God. The Apostle told us:

1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

How is one saved? Not by our works, but by faith in the Work of Christ. Our Lord Jesus said:

John 6:29 This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom {God} hath sent.

Only Jesus can make a sinner right with God. Only Jesus can bring whosoever will to a place of saving Grace, and can translate us into the kingdom of God. Only Jesus can make payment for our sins. Jesus Christ is the True Manna from Heaven Who gives life unto the world (John 6:33). Jesus is the Bread of Life, that, if you believe on Him, you will never thirst (John 6:35). It is Jesus Who came from Heaven to do the Father’s will (John 6:38). What is the Father’s will? Jesus said:

John 6:39-40 (ESV) … this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

There is no other God but our God. We are not gods. But God became like unto us to reach us, and bring Heaven to us, and us to Heaven.

God’s Truth Endures Forever

Psalm 117 O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. 2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.

God’s truth never ends. What God has said is “sin” in the Old Testament, is “sin” in the New Testament. God despises sin. Sin is anything that makes us out to be gods. Sin separates us from God, and separates us from God’s blessings. But here is a truth that is eternal. If you will come to the Lord Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior, He will not only heal you of your sins, but He will bring you into union with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. We are told in:

Hāllel Psalm 116:5, 13 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. 13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.

Hāllel Psalm 118:8-9, 14 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. 14 The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

I told you at the beginning that Hāllel Psalm 117 is the center chapter of the Bible. Many years ago three men were put to death – executed – on a hill called Calvary. The crowd mocked the Man in the middle, saying,

Matthew 27:40 … If Thou {Jesus} be the Son of God, come down from the Cross…

The thief on the left, dying, said the same thing to Jesus. Are You not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39). And Jesus said nothing. But the thief on the right looked at that Man in the middle. Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). It is faith in Jesus Christ that saves. The truth will never end, but is a golden thread that will draw each believer into eternity.

Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If not, today is the day to call on Him and be saved. For God’s glory, and through the Spirit’s power I pray this. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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