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Dr. Curt Lamansky | Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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God above Japan
MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011
Posted by: Immanuel Bible Church | more..
7,250+ views | 340+ clicks
BLOG ON: SERMON God above Japan
Immanuel Bible Church
Paul Tautges
Ten days ago, the island nation of Japan experienced its most powerful earthquake in its recorded history. The 9.0 earthquake on the ocean floor shook the nation and triggered a massive wall of water, known as a tsunami, to attack the eastern shore. Entire villages were decimated. Houses trashed as if they were made of toothpicks. In fact, an entire town is missing—its 10,000 inhabitants literally carried out to sea. To date, over 7,000 people are identified as dead. And an estimated 13,000 are still missing. And hundreds of thousands are now homeless.Where is God when things like this happen? Is the world of nature completely out of control?

Psalm 29 answers these questions for us. “Where was God ten days ago?” you ask. He was above Japan. He was sitting enthroned as King. He was in complete control.

As one of the “creation psalms,” Psalm 29 identifies three realms over which God exercises complete sovereignty.

I. God Is Sovereign over the Angels (vv. 1-2)

He calls the angels, “sons of the mighty,” to “ascribe” and to “worship.” Both of these words denote adoration. “Ascribe” enlists the mind and heart and voice while “worship” enlists the will to humble submission before the Almighty.

Here the angels are called upon to give and abundance of honor (glory) to God, worship Him for His strength, and give him the glory belonging to His name, Jehovah. God is to be worshipped for the splendor of His holiness (see also Revelation 4:8).

II. God Is Sovereign over the ‘Forces of Nature’ (vv. 3-9)

The “voice of the Lord” is mentioned 7x in the psalm, referring to God’s power displayed in the violent storm, especially the thunder (next phrase reveals this). Four parts of nature are mentioned.

A. Sovereign over the seas (v. 3)

In light of verse 10, it is clear that David not only refers here to the violent thunderstorm, but to the flood of Noah’s day. Referring to God’s control of Noah’s flood, Psalm 104 testifies: You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled, at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which You established for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass over, so that they will not return to cover the earth (vv. 6-9).

B. Sovereign over the mountainous regions (vv. 4-7)

The power of the God of the storm is also seen in its effects upon the cedars of Lebanon and Mount Sirion, making them appear like wild animals skipping along.

The “flames of fire” are lightning bolts, for which the Bible gives God credit.

Job 37:14-15 [God said to Job] “Listen to this, O Job, Stand and consider the wonders of God. Do you know how God establishes them, and makes the lightning of His cloud to shine?”

Psalm 78:48 [describes God’s judgment of Israel for her ingratitude] He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones and their herds to bolts of lightning.

C. Sovereign over the desert (v. 8)

The “wilderness of Kadesh” is the desert area that was part of the wilderness wanderings of the nation of Israel after they left Egypt. Numbers 20:1 identifies Kadesh as the place where Miriam, the sister of Moses, was buried.

D. Sovereign over the forest (v. 9)

“The voice of the Lord makes the deer to calve and strips the forests bare.” It is a proven scientific fact that weather storms often trigger births. Verse 9b concludes: “And in His temple everything says, ‘Glory!’” That is, every part of nature mentioned here joins together in one mighty chorus of praise to God—telling forth His power and majesty.

III. God Is Sovereign over all of Humanity (vv. 10-11)

God sits securely on His throne as sovereign King regardless of turmoil on the earth.

A. Sovereign in Judgment (v. 10)

The “flood” mentioned by David is Noah’s flood. The word “flood” is only used elsewhere in Genesis 6-11. Clearly, the psalmist is declaring the sovereignty of God in judgment. As King of the earth God alone possesses the right to ultimately judge mankind for his wickedness, which is exactly what He did when He sent the worldwide flood. Genesis 6:5-8 describes the worldwide wickedness of man and God’s decision to judge.

The New Testament reveals that the sovereignty of judgment has now been given to the Son of God. “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).

B. Sovereign in Blessing (v. 11)

Genesis 6:8 continues, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” When God wiped mankind off the face of the earth, there was one exception, Noah. God chose to act in grace toward Noah. As a result, the lives of eight people were spared. In contrast with the judgment that God brings upon the wicked, the Lord will bless His people with “strength” and “peace.”

Conclusion

What is the main point of this Psalm? God’s voice must be heard in the storm. What is God saying to the world through the devastation that Japan now experiences? What are the lessons each of us must learn?

3 LESSONS FROM THE EARTHQUAKE:

  • Nothing happens by accident—even in a fallen world. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear meltdowns somehow fit into the outworking of God’s sovereign plan. Psalm 135:6 affirms, Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.
  • As Creator, God has the rightful authority to govern every aspect of His creation according to His will. He is the Potter. We are the clay. Let us therefore submit our will to Him. Let us seek Him while He may still be found. Psalm 100:3 declares, Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. The principle of God’s ownership over our lives is doubly-true for believers in Christ. We are “not our own” first because of creation and second because of redemption (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
  • Every national disaster is another divine call to sinners to repent before it is eternally too late. Jesus teaches us this in Luke 13:1-5.

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

When a disaster takes place, of the magnitude of what has occurred in Japan, people may be tempted to think that Japan is more wicked than others and, therefore, deserves to be judged. However, that completely misses the point! Rather, disasters like this should cause each and every one of us to look at ourselves and not ask, “Why, God, did you do this to Japan,” but instead, “Why, God, did you not do this to me?” Every national disaster is another call from a merciful God to sinners like us to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

How is God speaking to you today? How are the disasters that fill our news channels affecting you? How will you respond to God’s voice as revealed in the storm?

Paul Tautges Paul Tautges

Paul Tautges serves as the senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Previously, he served Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan,...

Category:  Sovereignty of God

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