Sermon:  Reader Response

Summary:  God has revealed himself both in creation and in his word which brings true life.  
God holds us accountable for this revelation, so our response should be to make our actions 
and thoughts pleasing and acceptable to God according to his revealed word.

Know:  Only through spending time in God's word and actually doing it can we experience the 
full blessing of God

Feel:  Positive about God's precepts

Do:  Evaluate our reading habits and reflect on how your reading affects both your thoughts 
and actions.  Reflect on how Jesus is the fulfillment and reflects the ideal living accordance 
to "Torah" and formulate a plan to walk in his steps.

Text:  Psalm 19

Scripture Reading:  Heb 4:12

1.  Dead Sea Scrolls
	a.  We went on a trip to to go see some of them in person
	b.  God's word has been preserved
	c.  Grass withers, flower falls, but word of Lord stands forever (1 Pet 1:24)
2.  Why do we have the written word of God?
	a.  Consider what all is there
	b.  Historical events, laws, poetry, wisdom teaching, even letters
	c.  God wants to tell us something about himself and about us
3.  This morning's Psalm is a reflection on how God does this
4.  This Psalm can be divided into three parts
	a.  God's revelation in his creation
	b.  God's revelation in his Torah
	c.  Our response to God's revelation

I.  (v.1-6) God reveals himself in his creation
	A.  God doesn’t limit his revelation to those with a Bible
		1.  The Heaven's "recount" the glory of God
			a.  Saphar means to write or recount
			b.  Activity of professional scribes
			c.  In fact, the participle form of this word means "scribe"
			d.  Idea is that God's revelation is "written" in creation
		2.  Every day and night is a loud, silent sermon
			a.  Day to day pours forth speech
			b.  There is not speech, words, or sound
			c.  But a picture is worth 1000 words
			d.  Consider all the scientific books written on creation
				- Take a library to fill it all
				- Much more to be discovered and written
				- It all says volumes about what God is like
	B.  What does the creation say about God?
		1.  God is faithful
			a.  Sun comes up every single morning
			b.  You can rely on it
			c.  How much more can you rely on its creator?
		2.  God is good
			a.  God created a good creation
			b.  Sun comes up and gives life
				- God designed it for our good
				- Not too much nor to little sun
		3.  Helps us to understand something about God
			a.  They tell the glory/splendor of God
			b.  Reflect on the nature of creation to learn of creator
				- God is merciful - Rain on just and unjust
				- God is dangerous - Storms
				- God is wise - Right amount of light, oxygen, etc.
				- Can go on and on
		4.  God holds all people accountable
			a.  Their "line" has gone out
			b.  Usually used of a measuring line
				- Measure something for destruction
				- Ancient times, when destroy captured city, didn't 
				  have bombs
				- Took a bit of thought to destroy huge structures
				- God used it in prophecy to talk about measuring for 
			c.  Their "measuring line" has gone out
			d.  God holds all people accountable
	C.  ILL: (Rom 1:18-32) - This sounds a lot like this Psalm
		1.  Paul says virtually the same thing
		2.  Remember a person asking me about natives
			a.  They don't have a Bible what about them?
			b.  God holds them responsible for what he tells them in 
			     creation, they are to honor God according to it
		3.  Like signs
			a.  If no words only icon or picture, anyone understand it
			b.  Europe, couldn't read, but could understand the pictures
			c.  God has left a picture of him in creation
	D.  People all over have had opportunity to honor God
		1.  Occasional story of tribes that choose to honor creator rather 
		     than pagan gods
			a.  The stories I am aware of are of people whom 
			     missionaries visited
			b.  It was as if God knew they were receptive, and ensured 
			     missionaries went there
		2.  Most do not honor God, as Paul states in Romans
		3.  Got still holds them accountable

II.  (v.7-11) God reveals himself in his Torah
	A. Characteristics of Torah (similar to characteristics of God from creation)
		1.  It is perfect, or "sound/reliable"
			a.  "Tam" means soundness, reliability, integrity, wholeness, 
			b.  Torah of Yahweh is applicable in all of life, it is whole
		2.  It is good, delightful
			a.  v.8 - Makes the heart rejoice
			b.  v.10 - Better than gold
			c.  v.10 - Sweeter than honey
			d.  v.11 - There is great reward (lit: outcome) in keeping it
		3.  It helps us to understand
			a.  v.7 - Makes the simple wise
				- Doesn't matter if you are a simple person
				- With God's Torah, you can become wise
			b.  v.8 - Gives light to the eyes
				-  Can see things of the world for what they really are
				- Little confusion when faced with ungodly choices
		4.  It warns us
			a.  v.7 - It restores our soul
				- "Restore" is "shuv" in Hebrew
				- This is the standard Hebrew word for "repent/return"
				- This is a Hiphil form, thus - "to cause to repent"
				- It turns our soul back from destruction
			b.  v.11- It warns the servants of God
	B.  We often get the wrong Idea about Torah
		1.  Christians often have a very negative view of it
			a.  This is a Lutheran view of the law which has affected 
			     nearly every strand of Western Christianity
			b. Also stems from misunderstanding of Paul
				- Paul did not speak negatively of law
				- He spoke negatively about abuses of it
				- His discussions based on misunderstanding of law
		2.  There is nothing defective in the law
		3.  It often means "instruction" rather than merely "law
			a.  The verb form of the word means to "instruct"
			b.  Often in Old Testament, this is what it means
			c.  God not giving just rules, but instruction for life
		4.  (Matt 5:17-19) - Jesus to fulfill it Torah, not abolish it… 
			a.  Torah is God's instruction for what the covenant people in 
			     the kingdom should look like
			b.  Israel failed in demonstrating the ideal
			c.  Jesus fulfilled the ideal
				- Don't look at it strictly from a legal standpoint
				- The legal metaphor is inadequate to characterize 
				   our relationship to God - Job demonstrates this
			d.  The Sermon on the Mount is an exposition of Torah
	C.  ILL:  One time I was in the Gremlin on a back road
		1.  Going kind of fast, pulled over by policeman
		2.  I told him three were no traffic signs
			a.  He asked - Did you read your traffic manual?
			b.  Do you know why he asked?
			c.  It says - If no speed posted, speed is 50 on country roads
		3.  I was responsible for what was in the manual regardless of signs
			a.  When taking Shane out for first drive, he had to study
			b.  Wanted him to know what it said before going out
			c.  As a driver, responsible to know and obey what is in it
		4.  We are responsible for what is in God's manual
			-  God's ultimate manual is Jesus Christ
	D.  Jesus is the embodiment of the Ideal Torah
		1.  His is God's ultimate instruction
		2.  All of the descriptions of Torah apply to him
			a.  Sound/reliable
			b.  Good/delightful
			c.  Helps us to understand (embodiment of wisdom)
			d.  Warns us
		3.  So what should we do…

III.  Our Response (v.12-14)
	A.  Who can discern errors?
		1.  Look around today, many people cannot or will not
			a.  Decreasing sense of what is right and wrong
				- Live together, adultery and divorce a sport
				- Premarital sex, homosexuality
				- Cheat, lie, dishonest
				- lazy, want handouts, also rich and selfish
			b.  What used to be called good is called evil, and what used 
			     to be called evil is called good
		2.  Only those who listen to God's revelation can discern
		3.  Consider what God has revealed, then…
	B.  Psalmist offers this prayer
		1.  Cleanse me from hidden faults
			a.  Not saying to forgive so I can go on sinning
			b.  Saying clean me out
		2.  Refrain me from insolence/ presumptuous sin
		3.  Then I will be "sound"
			a.  Same word as in v.7 - Torah of the Lord is sound/perfect
			b.  Has the idea of integrity, wholeness
		4.  Final request is for wholeness
			a.  Let my words AND meditation of my heart be acceptable
			b.  "Acceptable" can mean "pleasing"
			c.  Let all of me, inside and out be pleasing to God
	C.  ILL:  Clean on both inside and outside
		1.  Recent news stories investigate restaurants
			a.  Problem with cleanliness, expired food, etc.
			b.  Several restaurants have problems
		2.  Walk in, place looks clean on the surface 
		3.  We want it to be clean on the inside and out
			a.  What under the surface can still make you sick
			b.  So have to be clean inside and out
			c.  This is the "soundness" the Psalmist talks about
		4.  If we put God's sound, pure, sweet word in our heart, it will help 
		     us to be sound as well.
	D.  This is the essence of worship
		1.  God reveals himself through his actions
		2.  In worship, we respond to God
		3.  Not limited to worship service
			a. Rom 12:1 - Living sacrifice - this is your spiritual service of 
			b.  If you don't respond, all you have done is made God's 
			     instruction into an academic exercise.

1.  How will you respond this morning to God's revelation?
2.  Jesus is God's instruction
	a.  He died, buried and raised
	b.  Wants us to do the same in baptism (invitation)
3.  We are to imitate him
	a.  Read and meditate on Christ our example
	b.  Read for transformation and action
	c.  Ask - What does Jesus want me to think about….
	d.  Ask - What does Jesus want me to do about….


Small Group Questions:  Reader Response

Summary:  God has revealed himself both in creation and in his word which brings true life.  
God holds us accountable for this revelation, so our response should be to make our actions 
and thoughts pleasing and acceptable to God according to his revealed word.

Open (Choose one)
- What is your favorite desert or snack?
- What sorts of things do you like to read?

Explore:  (Psalm 19)

1.  In verse 1, the Psalmist uses the word "God" (Hebrew: "El") and in verse 7 he uses the 
word "LORD" (Hebrew: Yahweh).  In context, what significance is there to the change in designations 
for God?  What does this say about God?

2.  The Psalmist uses a series of parallel poetic lines to describe the law (Law =Torah/instruction) 
in verses seven through nine.  List all six of the designations for the law and their descriptors and 
discuss what they all say as a whole about the nature of the law and how the Psalmist views it.

3.  How does the Psalmist's view of Law/Torah contrast with or is in continuity with the view that 
Jesus had?  (Matt 5:17-19)  What does Jesus do with Torah in the Sermon on the Mount?  Does 
either the Psalmist or Jesus indicate that there is anything defective in the Torah?

4.  In what ways does the Psalmist ultimately react to God's revelation in his Law/Torah?  What 
word(s) might you use to sum up the Psalmist's desire?


5.  How does your view of God's written word compare to that of the Psalmists?  What words, metaphors, 
descriptions would you use to describe it from your own experience with the word?

6.  Evaluate your reading habits.  In what ways do you do well and in what ways do you need improvement?

7.  In what ways is Jesus the "fulfillment" of Torah?  Knowing that Jesus is the fulfillment of God's ideal, 
how should we react?  How do we fulfill God's ideal and how do we fall short?

8.  What is God calling us to do?