Saturday, August 09, 2008

Finding Mercy

The fourth psalm in the Psalm of Ascents is psalm 123. To recap our travel through our series of the Psalms of Ascents, it begins with the psalmist desiring to go to his true home (ps. 120). It continues with the psalmist praising God for His protection during the journey to Jerusalem (ps. 121). He reaches Jerusalem and praises God for the great things he finds there (ps. 122). In this next, brief psalm, we find the psalmist in Jerusalem and beginning to do what he traveled there to do: worship Yahweh. To begin this worship experience, he asks for God to send His mercy.

Read Psalm 123 (NASB, NIV, KJV)

Because this is such a short psalm, the outline is also short. It is still a rough draft and I really do not like it much but here is what I have.

God is the Giver of Mercy

I. We depend on God's mercy (1-2)

II. We desire God's mercy (3-4)

First, I really need a new title. Actually, I really do not need a title at all but I have been trying to title my sermons for the purpose of summarizing what I going to speak about. If anyone has a thought about a better title PLEASE post it so we can all see it.

Second, it is obvious in the first two verse that the psalmist is talking about his dependency on God for mercy. Verse two is not about the servants looking to their master for orders, but instead looking to them for the necessities of life. The psalmist uses these to show how we desperately need God to give us mercy because it cannot be found anywhere else.

The last two verses of the psalm shows the psalmist desire for that mercy. Because others (namely the proud, who depend on no one for anything) have attacked us (ridiculed and hold contempt for us) we need God's mercy to get through.

It seems to me that this psalm also is like stairs step:

I look to God in heaven (v. 1.)
     until he shows us mercy (v. 2)
        because we have endured much contempt (v. 3)
                from the arrogant (v. 4)

This also could also be an outline for this text. Any help with these outlines would be great.

I love the message of this little psalm: "God is the only place for me to find mercy and I need that mercy greatly."

I still need a "modern" song with which to end this sermon. The first song of thought of (with the help of my wife) was "Mercy Came Running" by Phillips, Craig and Dean, but since I do not not agree with their doctrine, I am hesitant to use this song thinking that someone may see that as endorsing them. Then I thought of the hymn, "At the Cross" where the chorus says, "Mercy there was great, and grace was free...Pardon there was multiplied to me...There my burdened soul found Calvary." That may be the right one. Any suggestions?

I will have to update this one later as I continue to work on it.