Psalm 145 (Awestruck)
Steve Alberts


In today’s message, our Discipleship Pastor, Steve Alberts walks us through personal struggles and encourages us to put our struggles up against God’s holiness and majesty. We delve into the poetic structure and personal nature of Psalm 145, highlighting God’s faithfulness and transcendent perspective. We explore the tension between God’s greatness and our mundane struggles, emphasizing the need to focus on God’s grace and mercy. We are encouraged to ask God to teach us more about Himself through our struggles, and to focus on the importance of trusting in God’s control and sovereignty.




Sermon Transcript
So giving, giving opportunity to preach is always, is always special. I love it. And when Jason asks me to preach, I jump at the chance almost every time. The thing about that, though, is a lot of times he asks me to preach on this weekend, which is Memorial Day weekend. And the reason why I find that not hard, but I recognize it's weighty. I'll say it that way, it's weighty because I realize I know what this day is for a lot of families. I know what this day is for a lot of people who have, who know the pain of when someone they love sacrifices their very life in times of war and and I, I'm always, I always struggle with that because I want to be an encouraging person, to share with you something of encouragement, and it's on this day when I'm already kind of weighted down by this idea of of war, because that's really what Memorial Day is. I mean, if we took it down and all the things down to its bare bones, what you have is a war story. And you have the war story in a way that says there are men and women who in the middle of their war somehow find the strength, the something that they stand up and they charge further into the war, into the struggle, and I'm just, I'm always just thinking about what that what that means, because no words can really express. I can say thanks. I can say I'm honored, but really gets down to this is just something I can't express. And I'm also thinking about those wars and those struggles that we all face, those wars and struggles that cripple us in our daily life, the things that keep us from moving forward. And so when Jason asked me to preach this, this time, I asked, God, God, what? What do you want me to speak on? Because my heart is already burdened for this, this war story for families, for for individuals, the kind of things that they're struggling through. What what do I say? Father, God, help me to know what it is that you want me to tell everybody about the wars that they face, the struggles that they face. And I got an answer. Do you guys know what the answer was,what war and I was, I was I struggled with that because I'm like, Okay, now wait a minute, God, are you? Are you? What are you at? Are you saying? No, don't do this. I know it was from God, because if you look in Scripture, you always see that Jesus answers questions with questions. So I know this is from Jesus, right? But as I started to ponder this, I started thinking about this, going, Okay, what war? Because then it further went on, further to say that what God wants us to know is that if we take our struggles, if we take the wars that we face on in our lives, and we put them up against the holiness and the majesty of who God is. Guess what happens to the war? Guess what happens to the struggle? It goes away. No, doesn't go away. It gets solved. And so I want to take us through this idea here, and I wanted to find out what kind of text, what, what, what part of Scripture am I going to look at to where we get to see how God works in His Majesty when it comes to this war that we face. And so what I want us to do is I want us to turn our Bibles to Psalm 145, and in this psalm, we're going to go through all 21 verses of the psalm this morning. And what I want us to notice is how our struggles compare to what we see of who God is. I want us to leave this place in awe of. Who God is, and that awe will strike to the core of the war and of the struggle. Now I want to be honest here, because I'm I'm not talking about just an average struggle of it. You know that I didn't get enough sleep, and I'm tired because I recognize in this room, in the sound of my voice, there will be there are people, there are families who have been destroyed by divorce, that I know that there are people who are suffering life threatening illnesses, and they're looking and they're staring death in the face I'm looking at and I'm in front of people whose children, they don't know where they are, they're adult kids. They don't know where they are, they're wayward, they don't know I'm talking about those kind of struggles along with our regular daily struggles. And still, I am going to be up here to say, let's take those kinds of struggles and compare them to the majesty and awe of God. And even in those instances, we can see how our struggles compare. So hopefully you found where Psalm 145 is. And I want to kind of take us through some things that you probably don't see right off the bat when you're looking at Psalm 145 in your English Bible. So let me do some little bit of a teaching moment for you. Okay, why am I going to show you what Psalm 145 and how it compares? Well, here's what I want you to know. First and foremost. This is a part of a book of poetry, a book of Psalms, and it's called The Wisdom poetry. And it's called wisdom for a reason. It's because there's some extra it's not just poetic. There are some structural nuances to this psalm. It's an acrostic poem. And we've seen these acrostic poems before I've even preached on one. It's Psalm 119, an acrostic poem means what we're seeing in your English Bibles, you can't tell because we don't speak Hebrew, but every line that you see is it starts with a Hebrew letter in the alphabet, so it goes in order, A, B, C, D, E. It's like if I wrote a poem like that, right? So it's an across the poem. The reason why this is important is because this shows that David said, I want to speak about my God, and I want to tell about the praiseworthiness of my God, but I want to do it in its form and structure, not just being poetic and using really, really pretty language, I want to be deliberate with every word I choose. That's why it's called a wisdom poetry. There's about nine of them out of the 73 or so that David wrote. The other thing that I want you to know about this particular psalm is that this is attributed to David. So we believe that David actually wrote this psalm. It is the last Psalm in this collection of psalms that David wrote. And that's important too, because in this psalm, 145 is David's last written Psalm, which is, and you'll see it when we cover it. It is every experience that David had with God. So in this, in this psalm, you're going to see how David's experience with God is illustrated and given some some life in this, in this psalm. Next thing I want you to know is that you're going to see that David's Psalm is very personal. This is not just David saying, Oh, God is great. God is good. Now let us eat right? This is a very personal Psalm, very personal meaning that he has some very personal things to say and very, very heartfelt things. Another thing this is strong poetic imagery. Why that's important is because what we're going to do, the purpose of this psalm, is to take us from the struggles that we face, and lift us out into the presence of God. So he's going to use very strong poetic imagery here to lift us out of our struggles, out of our war to see who God is. Historically speaking, this Psalm was used in the Hebrew culture, and it was publicly read oftentimes to help encourage in times of stress, either family stress, national stress. This Psalm was read publicly to proclaim God's faithfulness. And then lastly, this psalm seems to have what I'm going to call a transcendent perspective, meaning this. There is no reference in this. Psalm to anything about war, personal struggle, it is all about God. The challenge to this is that structure, because what David is almost challenging us as readers to do is to take this Psalm and take whatever struggle that you're facing and put it alongside what you're going to see in Psalm 145 and see how it compares. So I'd like to take David up on this challenge. What I want us to do today is you right now, think of a challenge. Think of a war that you're facing. What is it that is in front of you that's keeping you from moving forward, keeping you from thinking about other things? What is the struggle that you're facing right now? You can write it down in your notes next to you, or just have it in your mind as we go through the psalm. Because when I did this as I was studying it, I was amazed on how suddenly the struggle that I had wasn't as big, wasn't as scary, wasn't as powerful as I gave it. So if you, if you want to take this challenge, then then think of something yourself, and let's go forward. Did you find it in your Bibles? Yet, well, Psalm 145there are three movements I want to do in this in this sermon today. First one here is this, his creation gives context to our struggles. I want us to see in Psalm 145 that David illustrates. Even in God's creation, we are given a context to our struggles, and that's important to get this context. Here's what this looks like. Let's read. Says, I'll extol you My God and King, and I bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and so declare your mighty acts. I want you to see two things here. First is that we have a description of God, and that description you can see in two places, right here, God and King, and the other one is right here. Greatness is unsearchable. What does this look like? What does this mean? First and foremost is that it's this idea of God as king. What's a king? A King is somebody who reigns over his dominion in perfectness, which means that everything the king decides to do is suddenly right. Everything king then wants to do is suddenly good, everything so here it is. David is saying that God is King. And then down here he describes that his greatness is unsearchable. So I want you to know this, that when you're looking at who God is, God is King. He is sovereign over this creation, over your life, over your struggle, over your war, and the greatness of him is unsearchable. There is no depths that you can reach to. There is no end to a conclusion. You take one step of searching for God's greatness, and guess what? There's more greatness to be discovered, more greatness to be discovered, more greatness to be discovered. It is unsearchable. There's no end to who God's is and his greatness. The next thing I want you to see is that there's a time frame set up here. You see this right, right here. It says your name forever and ever. What's forever and ever? What's the big word for forever and ever? Eternal? Yeah, we call that eternal. God exists in a time of eternal, there is no beginning, there is no end for God. But then we see this other phrase right here. What's this? Every day, every day is God's creation, God who is eternal, created, and that creation exists in a temporal framework, which means we experience things day by day. We don't know what tomorrow brings. We go to tomorrow. We know it has now we learn and we grow every day. So forever and ever, every day. And there's another time frame. Do you guys see it? It's right here, one generation shall commend your works to another. So it's the same as every day. But now David has backed way up to now we're talking about generations. Now we're talking about these generational movements, family movements. One generation will influence another. Generation will influence another generation. These things right here all seem to point to one thing that God created in a temporal, moment by moment, sort of way, so that we experience things. Here's what this looks like. Gotta close out. I'm a graphic guy, so you get ready for some graphics, right? This is what we were talking about, very simple, forever and every day there's a line. It's different this, this. This realm is different from this realm. But in this moment, in this creation, we see some things. One, I want you to know that God created awesome things. Why this is important? Because some of your struggles may deal with things, material things. If I tell you right now that God created that, that that thing in your life, I want you to know that he created that, and that was awesome. That's an awesome thing. God creates awesome things, and he creates awesome things to point to himself. Another key point, every awesome thing that he creates is designed to point to him. Next thing I want you on this other side is about us. God created our needs for his awesome which means this God created us to be needy for him, for his awesome things. We are to always search him out. Go back to the garden before the fall where was Adam and Eve supposed to search for they couldn't do it. They weren't going to, they weren't supposed to do all that work, all those by themselves. Know everything. Who are they supposed to turn to God? There was a need that God created to say, I want them to need me. This is important. God created us to have needs for his awesome creation that point to him. The next thing is this up here, awesome things spark us. Another important concept. When God created us to need his awesome creation to desire those things he also created in us that spark, that spark of desire to participate further. God created us to be co creators with him. Think about this. I'm an artist. I love art. I love things of art. Some of you may not like art, or enjoy art, or see value in art. Some of you enjoy math. So I'm going to say it this way. Some of us in this room are sparked by creation, by creating things, through through design, through form. Some of you are. I'm going to call you guys engineers. You love you love precision. You love function. Some of you in this room are adventurers. You guys know who you are. You're the ones who go out. And you guys want to find out more. Your curiosity is just through the roof. You love to wonder about things. You are an adventurer. You want to know more, and everything there is to know about God's creation, everything that's around you. Some of you going here, that's right. Some of you are healers. Some of you value relationships. Some of you value wholeness. When relationships are whole, you love that. You want to bring those things together. Some of you, I call stabilizers. You love truth. You love order. You want things to be stable. You want things to be performing well. God created all of us to have these sparks in us so that we want. We want to create with God. We want to create the art piece. We want to create the engineering piece. We want people to be whole and in good relationship. We want to continue what God has given us to do in creation. Do you see this? This is the foundation of our conversation about struggle. Where does the struggle come in. What happens when you take out God, out of these equations? What happens when you forget that God created awesome things? What if you forgot, or you're living like you forgot that those awesome things are supposed to point to him. We get this, our everyday struggle. Become self centered, of place of manipulation, of controlling other people. We become discontent. We are exhausted because we keep on. Trying to make things please us, and it's just not working. We become cold to truth. We become cold to closeness. We become angry, fearful and envious. This is where the struggle takes place. And I think this is where the Psalm 145, where David wants us to say, if this is where we're at, then how do we get out of this? And what does God do with all of this? Because this is every day. So here's some questions, and this is where I want you guys to take your struggle that you're going through. And I want you to ask yourselves these questions. One, is God in your struggle? Do you believe that God is in your struggle? Do you believe that God is is walking alongside you as you are struggling, as you're warring against these things. Alot of times we forget that God is with us in the struggle. How about this? One? Is your struggle more real than God? Is meaning this? Do you believe that your struggle is more powerful than God? Now we may, we may intellectually go, of course not, Steve, it's not. But do we live like this? This is the question. Are we living like our struggle, our war, is greater than God. Have you stopped engaging God because of it? My work as a youth pastor, one of the things I've always noticed, always noticed is that whenever there's a conflict in the college years, I don't know what it is. I do know what it is, it's unfortunate, but the first thing students ditch is God or His people church? Are you finding it hard because of the struggle? What do you believe about your struggle? Answering those questions will help to form what we're talking about when it comes to taking your struggle and putting alongside the glory of God. Here's another point God's glory outshines our struggles. Look at these verses here. I'm going to there's I wish, I wish we I could. I had to fit this on two screens. So we're going to try our best to put this on. So if you're taking notes, you're going to have more than just on the screen. Look what it says on the glorious splendor of Your Majesty and on your wondrous works, I will meditate they shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. There shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness, and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made before we go to the next stream. Let me ask you this question. Look at some of these words here. There's three of them that tie together. One here is splendor, majesty and fame. If you put those two words together, it describes God, splendor. Splendor. The Hebrew word is Hadar, and it is the splendor of creation. So if you ever go to Colorado and you're standing on the edge of a Glacial Ridge, you're struck with the splendor of what you're seeing. The Splendor means is this is that it is unique. The only way you can experience it is right here, in this moment, the splendor of a mansion, a splendor of a palace, the splendor of Your Majesty. Another royal word, Majesty refers to kingdom of rule and of authority, your splendor, Your Majesty. And then here is fame. I love this one right here, because fame is the idea of splendor and majesty made portable. We go from place to place, declaring the fame of God. Mission work is all about taking God's God's wondrous works, and making it famous, and saying, I'm going to take this, I'm going to deliver it to a person. So the splendor, the majesty and the fame of God. There's another couple of words I want you to pay attention to. One is right here, abundant, and the other one is abounding. I love these words. Let me give it to you this way. I love cake. No, I love frosting. That's what I really love. So if you give me a piece of cake, I want frosting on it. And you know what? If you want to be really good, if you want to, if you want us to be really good friends, make it abundant. Give me abundant. Abundant is like it's a quantity. Give me a lot. No, not, not just a lot. Give me more than I can handle. Abundant. I want a lot of frosting. Guys out there with me, abounding. Abounding is similar to abundant, except in one way, abounding has a timelessness to it. Give it to me and keep on giving it to me. Let it never stop. I want it more and more and more, the abundant and but here we're talking about God's goodness and His steadfast love, I God is abundant in His goodness. There is there is more than we can handle in His goodness. And his abounding steadfast love means this love keeps on going. It. You go, you go one step and there's more of it. There's more of it. There's more of it. This is who God is, the splendor, the majesty and fame now, together with the abundant and abounding of a steadfast love. If we were to compare our struggles and our war to that, you begin to see that your struggles that the war might not be as powerful as you've given them. Let's talk to this next, next section. This one here deals with Kingdom. All your work shall give thanks to you, oh Lord, and your saints shall bless you. Just shall speak of the glory. See here the glory of Your kingdom and tell of your power. Those two are related to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds and the glorious splendor. Here it is again of your kingdom, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your Dominion endures throughout all generations. Friends, listen, this kingdom, this reign, this realm, is for us to exist in, to live in here and look. Dominion endures. Dominion is just another great word for sovereign. There is nothing out of the control of God, your struggle, your war. Listen, is in control of God. I've been in, I've been in some pretty, pretty hard struggles, and the one thing I always think about is this, is if God isn't sovereign, and he is not in control of this, oh, what hope do we have if God is not in control of this dominion of our of our struggle? I'm giving you this to say, even in the struggles that we face, we are looking at this kingdom, this power, this glorious splendor, but too many times we want to live somewhere else, not in this kingdom. It's kind of like those of us who like where's Andy, those of us who like camping. Now tent camping is what I'm talking about, right? So we want to be in a we love tent camping. We love it. But you know, after about five days living in a tent, guess what? I'm longing for home, right? Home, because I am trying to make my own kingdom living in this tent. It's fun for a while, but after a while it gets to be too much work, too hard, because we're living in a different kind of Kingdom. How does this look? What's this relate to? Let's go back to this. This is the struggle. This is your everyday this is that self centeredness, the dysfunction of relationships, the controlling attitudes, the discontentment of everything, exhaustion, coldness, anger, fear, envy, every day, day after day, moment by moment. This is what we're facing because we have forgotten that God is in control, that God is sovereign. God's kingdom, His Majesty is might, his splendor is in, is in all of this, but we have forgotten it. If we put it back, this is what it looks like. You know, you guys know that when stars, stars still exist in the daytime. But why can't we see him? Because the sun's too bright. I want you to notice again my graphicness here is coming out. I haven't taken away the struggle. It's still there, the struggle, the war. I don't want to take away from you that it is real. The war, the struggle that you're facing, is real. It's real than anything. But when you put it against. God's splendor, his majesty, His fame, His abundant and abounding, His grace and His mercy, kingdom and sovereignty. Then it pales. It begins to be over, overshone. What's the what's that? How do you tense that verb? I don't know it. You begin to not see it because of what you're seeing is this, I want to focus on grace and mercy for a second, we've heard the idea of what grace and mercy is. I want to give you my definition of grace and mercy. Mercy is this. I was, I was a dead man. Before I knew Christ. I was a dead man. I used to work in a in a funeral home. I've been around dead people. You know what? Dead people do nothing. I mean, I'm talking nothing, right, nothing. So I was a dead man in God's mercy. He reached into my deadness and made me alive. Hedidn't have to made me alive, a living soul that could interact with him. They could trust him, that could believe him, that could respond to him. He made me alive, mercifully dead to life, amazing, but grace. Grace took that living person and made him an heir to heaven, an heir to heaven. I am part of a family now a divine family. I am a child of God, not just dead, but alive, not just alive, but graciously. Now I am a child of God, this struggle that we're facing day after day that's real. Put that up against the mercy and grace of who God is, that you are a child of God. You are under the kingdom and sovereignty of Him, His grace and His goodness is abundant and abounding. There's no other place that you can, you can experience, except for the splendor and majesty of who God is. That's what David wants us to know in this psalm. So when you're looking again at your struggle, compare it to this. Compare it to this. Here's the questions. When you're living that struggle out, I want you to listen to what your heart is proclaiming. Are you proclaiming the power of this, of this struggle, that the struggle is really, really big. What is your heart proclaiming? Where do you go for safety and security? Do you put it into things, into people? How about this lesson, this next question, what if? What if we could look at our struggles and ask God, this God teach me more about who you are because of the struggle, because of the struggle. Let me know more about you because of where I am right now in the struggle. Teach me more about you that I would never experience had I not been in here. We've all been in places like this, or have been around someone who's who has endured tremendous suffering and warfare. And you ask those, those people, and you say, what did you learn about God? And there are some sweet lessons that are learned. We would never sign up for it. I get it. We never say, hey, sign me up. I'd do that. But the experience to say, what can I know about God? This is what the Psalm 145 is asking us to do, to see God in a new and fresh way because of the strugglelast point, his characters are strength in struggle. I want you to look at this. This is going to be a a I want you to look at these words. I'm going to, I'm going to put together. The Lord is faithful in all his works and kind, in all his words and kind, in all his works, the Lord upholds all who are falling and rises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food in due season, you open your hand. You satisfy the desires of everything. Let me look at these words. Look, God is faithful. God is kind. God upholds those who are falling. God rises raises up who are bowed down. The eyes of all who look to you. He can be seen, and you give them their food in due season. This is who God is. You open your hand. You satisfy the desire of every living thing. It keeps on going. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works, the Lord is near to all who call on him and all who con him. In truth, he fulfills the desires of those who fear him. He also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love him, but the wicked he will destroy if we were to. Step back and put all these words together. It's a definition of who God is, that God is holy. God is holy in everything that he does. And that means something to our struggle. It means something to a war. To say, I am part of a family where my Abba Father is a holy God, faithful, kind and righteous and near me and fulfills and he hears me and he saves me and He preserves me. This is the thing. What are you asking yourself? Is God good? Is God a promise keeper is God in control? You can ask these questions in doubt. That's fine, but I'm asking you, where do you live? Do you live in a place of denial that God is good? Is God a promise keeper in control? Is God powerful enough? And lastly, look at that. Does God care for me? Does God care for me. These questions matter. It builds a worldview of who God is, and it builds a worldview of your struggle. Which brings us to this last phrase my mouth will speak the praise of the Lord and let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever. So we're back at the beginning. We're back at full circle. We know what life is like day after day, when we forget about who God is. We forget that God exists. We forget that he is with us. And when we do then it means that everything is on us. Our success is on us, our perseverance, perseverance is on us. We'll go outside of our creative boundaries and strive to do it all, but Psalm 145 does not let us do that, because what happens here? We realize that this holiness permeates everything, forever and today, so that now every thing is spiritual. Everything is holy, not just forever, but every single day. This reminds me of Jesus in His nighttime prayer in the garden. What does he say? What is his prayer, Father? If there's any other way, but then, what does he say next? If not My will, Your will be done. That's a struggle. That's a struggle. And so when he makes that struggle, and he and he gets up in the middle of that struggle, and he realizes, I'm going to trust the holiness of who God is, then he walks a few and a few hours later, guess what? He says, he's on a cross, and He says this phrase, It is finished. And when I look at it is finished, I think of this, what war? There is no war. I.