God Is My Strength And My Portion

Guest Preacher - Part 91

Feb. 2, 2020


Disclaimer: this is an automatically generated machine transcription - there may be small errors or mistranscriptions. Please refer to the original audio if you are in any doubt.

[0:00] What shall we turn back to our scripture reading in the book of Psalms? Psalm 73. We can read verses, well verses 1 to 3.

[0:14] Let's read these first three verses. Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped, and here's his reason.

[0:32] For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. On the surface these words of Asaph in verse 3 might sound a bit strange, as though he was saying in a sense, when looking at other people's lives, he's saying, they don't deserve that.

[0:57] They don't deserve that. Which may be misunderstood to be another way of saying, but I do. They don't deserve that, but I do.

[1:11] I'm better than them, and they are worse than me. I'm better than them, because I'm like on the surface. But what we think is happening with this Manasaph is that he is going through a period of considerable temptation, really under the strain, and it's got a hold of his thinking.

[1:32] It's got a hold of the ways looking at life, looking at himself, looking at God. But amazingly in all of this, what he's saying in verse 2, he said, I went so far down this road, and no further.

[1:48] He went as far as thinking it, but he didn't go as far as actually saying it, and that's something he was very, very glad and relieved about.

[2:03] Some people will think that the Christian life is always going to be easy, straightforward. You can expect very little problems, and if you come up against any problems that either of your own doing to begin with, or where they come from God as a test, if you don't have enough faith, then don't expect to get through them.

[2:24] But if you do have enough faith, then God will listen, and God will hear and bless, and turn the situation round. In all of these ways, at both of these extremes, however, the problem resolves itself, or is made out to resolve it, it doesn't resolve itself at all.

[2:42] It's made out to resolve itself with us, whether we are responsible in terms of sin or failure to bring the problem outweigh, or responsible to believe enough, or not believe enough, as the case might be. It begins and ends with us, and it takes all away from God.

[2:59] The problem that Asa, this man has, and bearing in mind, he's not just anybody. He's a very important person in the worship, structure, and setup.

[3:10] He'd have been on a rote of some kind, an instrumental in leading worship, so he knows what he's talking about. He's someone you can be sure would have, in our way of looking at it, understood his Bible, and would have known enough about God to have been able to understand a lot about life.

[3:27] And when things happen, he'd have been able to look at it, and assess it, and evaluate it, and deal with it properly. And no doubt, if we were to go to him, being the kind of man that he was, and we would share maybe our own burdens with him, and ask for help, he'd probably be able to help us a lot from his own understanding of God, or from his own experience.

[3:50] He's a man who, for all of that, is someone who wasn't immune to entering a great trial, and a great difficulty. Some people think that Christian life is plain sailing, but other people will realise that it doesn't sometimes take too long before we meet things in life that can cause us great difficulty.

[4:12] And who would expect, maybe you've been in this place yourself, who would expect that one of the most stabilising truths in the whole Bible in relation to life, the sovereignty of God, total control over everyone, in every place, at every time, nothing excluded could become one of the reasons that we can become very, very troubled and upset, and enter many difficult thoughts and feelings, in situations in our lives where we know that God has sent them out.

[4:46] How do we deal with it? How do we cope with it? Well, Asaph goes through a right difficulty here. Let's look firstly at his conviction. And as someone else has pointed out, it's obvious, but it's sometimes good to have the obvious things pointed out, but this Psalm begins with a conclusion. He says in verse 1, truly, God is good to Israel.

[5:10] There's a sense where it doesn't need to be children to do this, but if we reread that first line of this Psalm, emphasising each word once, so beginning you'd emphasise, truly, next time you'd emphasise, God, just saying it out loud, you can do that to yourself, and you'll realise that is significance in every one of these words, where he says, truly, that rises out of the fact that it was a question mark in his experience.

[5:37] Not that he would sit down and say, God isn't good, but he was on the road to saying that. He was on the road to saying that. Truly, God is good to Israel. Truly, God is good, and so on, and so on.

[5:50] I don't want to weary you with that, but that emphasis is there. It's a conclusion. And it's a conclusion that this man arrived at at the end of his trial and test, but we may believe and reason maybe to understand knowing what he would have known about God before this test, that he would have believed these things already, but isn't it the case that sometimes it's at the end of going through what God brings our way, that we enter something of what Job said when he said, I heard of you, with the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.

[6:26] Where our perception of God moves from almost second hand to first hand. And through the situations we never want, never ask for, never choose, and wish to get out of as soon as we can.

[6:38] That it's in these very things we discover God with, let's say, is it three dimensions of where we'd previously maybe only have known in two dimensions.

[6:49] We're brought into a closer, nearer, deeper, fuller awareness of and relationship with God through the things he brings our way. So that's where we think is happening. Verse one is a conclusion. He'd have known it before this trial, but he knew it with far greater emphasis at the end of it. And it's worth it, isn't it? If you're someone who knows the Lord and you've been tried, you've been tested, and many of you here will, you know, being older and being more experienced, you'll know exactly what that is more than others of us. But every Christian to a degree will up to this point and certainly before the end of their journey know the tests, the trials of their faith.

[7:29] Some of the things that may even be consequences of past choices, other things we have no human rational explanation for other than the fact God has just put this into my life, into my experience.

[7:43] We may be wrestled with trying to figure out why. We may be tried to ask whether it's going to change or whether it's going to end. All of these things will resolve themselves one day into what Asaph says here in verse one, this first conviction where we will say truly God is good to Israel.

[8:03] Can we thank God today for the fact, among many other things, of the sheer honesty of this man? We know this isn't a human composition. Merely, it's partially that. It was Asaph's words, super intended perfectly by the Holy Spirit so that what we have before us is God's word, as well as Asaph's words, what a mystery that is. But it's through nonetheless.

[8:26] We can thank God for the sheer honesty of it. The fact that this man, being in such a prominent position in the temple setup, the worship setup in Israel, went through what he did in the first place.

[8:39] The second thing though, that he was honest enough to tell us about it, to pour his heart out about it. Have we got that kind of relationship in the church? Are we so open and ready to help one another?

[8:52] Or is there someone else who's even coming in today asking how we are? What would we say about that? How do we feel? Do you find that you have someone or you have others maybe more than one who you can actually confide in and that we can see in one another that things aren't actually the way they could be or should be?

[9:14] Pardoning ourselves to God is the most important thing of course, but having that way to talk to one another, confide in one another and help each other out. Because you might have something going on in your own situation that you feel so embarrassed about, you know, you feel ashamed about. How can I think this?

[9:33] No one else around today maybe knows what you're thinking. If it's wrong thinking, it'll eventually show itself in speech and act. There's an inevitability about that. If what's going on in here is taking root and it's just in thoughts and desires or intentions, they'll soon come out in words and actions. There's no way around that. It's a fact. James tells us in the process of temptation and our Lord says elsewhere that out of the abundance of the heart, what's in there comes out, the mouth speaks.

[10:03] But when you're thinking something, when you're going through maybe a crisis in your own understanding of things, and this isn't, no meaning this is in terms of someone having a breakdown or a mental illness, this is a different thing.

[10:16] Although related and not inseparable, but I wouldn't say it's the same thing at all. Where here you have someone who is in his relationship with God going through a crisis of thinking and analysing life and there's temptation involved in all of this. Because on this man Esab's back, having the conviction of a God that he does, there comes this confusion, the second thing, confusion from having conviction about God being good to Israel to the pure in heart.

[10:47] He enters this situation of confusion and there's nothing but temptation. You can't explain this in any other way. In the sense that we're from the very beginning of Satan's contact with human beings, with when you think of his relationship with Eve, he got her to think negatively about God, that God was being mean and depriving, and that Satan himself had far more to offer if she would only listen.

[11:13] When our Lord was tempted himself, you remember Satan took the same tactic, not in every temptation. There were three, but the one we think about is where he promised all the kingdoms of the world and all of their glory.

[11:27] And you know how Luke records that temptation for us. He tells us that he showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their glory in a moment of time, in a flash, in an instant. Now it didn't matter that why high the mountain was that Jesus stood on with Satan beside him.

[11:44] There's no high point on earth from which he can see all the kingdoms of the world and all their glory in any shape or form with these eyes that we've got, with the mind with which we perceive. In other words, the whole image and thing had to be somehow put into our Lord's mind.

[12:01] Satan being permitted to access our Lord's mind, to project this image, create this prospect of having all of this glory. Bow down to me, he says, and you can have it all. You don't need the cross to have the crown.

[12:16] Of course our Lord did. That was the Father's will and calling for him, but Satan's temptation was no. Go the other way. What we're trying to get at is Satan getting into our way of thinking, the demonic activity, getting into our way of thinking.

[12:30] We might just think it's ourselves. You know you're not a Christian here today and you think, oh right, this is all this carry on. People talking about angels and demons and well you know there's something very, very frightening.

[12:41] And one of the greatest things Satan would want to do is get us to believe he isn't even there, or that he doesn't have any involvement in your life. But you know how does this work out?

[12:53] For the like of you and me and all of us, we were all once darkness, the Bible in our own experience, tells us we were once all of us unconverted people without a clue even if we thought we knew. We didn't have a clue.

[13:06] What about us? Well Ephesians 2 reminds us we all walk according to the course of this world, following the Prince of the power of the air, Satan. But again there's another one, there's so many, but just in way of introducing this or looking at least in general at what we believe is happening with itself.

[13:24] And in case you're thinking dismissively, well that kind of stuff, how does that happen? Satan putting pictures or a demon putting images into the mind of this man, or at least suggestions, putting images into the mind of Jesus, how on earth does that work out?

[13:38] Well the Corinthians were told by Paul on one occasion that if the Gospel was hidden from them or veiled, it was veiled to them because they were lost. It was through of all of us here today, any of us who are Christians here today, the difference is only what God has done in our hearts and lives. No one's any better than anyone else, nothing of the sort in that way. But he says not only.

[14:00] Do these Corinthians, if our Gospel is veiled it's because you're lost? But he says in you, the God of this world has blinded, notice, the minds of those who believe, not who don't believe, in case the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine to them. Satan blinds mind.

[14:20] The shutters come down. That's why your mind can go everywhere around the world when you're in church. There can be other reasons for that. But when you feel your mind is just stolen away and you're going everywhere, and that's not because you're tired or you're worried about something necessarily, these things can be used.

[14:37] But the way it is, the mind can be just taken away. It's where the seed is sown on the rocky ground and the birds come, pick it up and go off with it. Jesus said, that's Satan. The seed is sown, you hear the word and it's taken before you know it.

[14:50] With Christians, believers like Esau, Satan has his way of creating things in our minds that aren't actually, not only true, but sometimes they might not even be there. He's able to persuade us about things being there that aren't there, and he's able to persuade us about things that are there to be something other than they actually are.

[15:13] Very subtle. And with Esau, this man, his confusion arises out of being somewhat taken aside and made to look at these people out there who hate God, who rebel against God.

[15:26] He lists their characteristics from verse 4 and well, he lists the characteristics really from verse 6. Pride, violence, scoffing, mocking, even there in verse 9.

[15:37] They set their mouths against the heavens and their tongue, what a picture this is, strutting through the earth. Their mouths are as big as you can imagine, their words against one another and their violence towards one another is one thing that when they set their mouths against the heavens, the problem he sees is that it crushes the Christian's heart.

[15:59] You see, people living like that, they themselves swear it not for God's grace. It's not being judgmental or critical, it's a fact. It's not being far as safe or, well, thank you or not like them. It's remembering who we are, what we were, or could have been if God hadn't intervened. And there is even, remember, like Lot, in sudden, his heart was broken.

[16:21] We're told by Peter that his heart was broken. He was in trouble of mind and heart for all his own feelings. While he was in sudden, he saw the way these people lived and it broke his heart.

[16:34] Paul's spirit was stirred in Athens when he saw all the idols. Yes, that's one thing, but the temptation comes to Asaph. When he, in verse 3, tells us this, I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

[16:51] It's like Satan comes along and says, you know what, Asaph? What are you doing with your life? How are things going? And while the sand doesn't exactly spell this out for us, reading between the lines, we may assume there's something going on that's making him think, why is this happening the way it is? Maybe it's, why is this happening to me the way it is?

[17:15] And there's a legitimacy about asking why, not demanding an answer, but asking God, you know, why is there a reason for this? Can I, you know, have some kind of maybe clarity or explanation, send your light, send your truth, let them guide me and lead me to where I should be so that I'll have a bit more discernment and then be able to deal with it, whether it's sorting out a problem, whether it's accepting a situation, whatever it might be. But here he is in this situation.

[17:45] And whatever exactly is going on, his eyes are being distracted to the people. Watch what you point in case, not saying there's anyone over there or over there, but you know what it is, look somewhere else.

[17:56] And Satan takes you and shows you the grass on the other side, he makes it greener, doesn't he? Creates this impression. He said, hang on a minute, he's saying, Asa, if you know what, you're a good man, you're a godly man, aren't you?

[18:09] You're someone who is really determined about serving God and being faithful to Him and, you know, you're someone verse 13, you're someone who cleans your heart and washes your hands, you're meticulous, you're trying to deal with sin and trying to deal with feelings and all of that and avoiding what's wrong and majoring in what's right. He's saying in verse 13, but you know, Asa, you know what, what about the people who aren't doing what you're doing?

[18:34] They don't care about God, they don't try and fix their lives or they just do what they want to even rebel against God. And they're strutting around there that these tongues of theirs in verse 11 saying, how can God know?

[18:46] Well, if God's out there, He'd have done something by now, then going on to say, is there knowledge in the most high? Questioning God's knowledge of their lives and questioning God's existence. And they just live whatever way they want and say it in saying, Asa, look at them. How easy they've got it?

[19:03] Verse 4, they've got no pangs, no pains until death. I mean, you look at them, they die easily, sometimes they die happily. On this side where you're looking on, there's no problems, there's no distress, there's no apparent, and this isn't for everyone, but for those referred to, this is the picture He's been given. Look at their bodies, look at their health.

[19:23] Look how, compare that, Asa, with how some believers die. The distress they can be in. And look at how sometimes their bodies can be ravaged. And verse 5, consider their lives in a wider way. These Christians have so much trouble, they're struck down.

[19:39] Surely if God loved them and God was being kind to them, none of this would happen. Look at these people who don't care about God, they're just sailing through life. Asaf, I think you've got this back to front.

[19:52] And he started listening to this. So imagine him turning up. Let's just imagine the scenario, turning up. In his position on the rota, to lead in whatever exact format was in the worship.

[20:08] And people knowing Asaf would have such respect for him. You may want to have a look if you wish to do this and see other references to him in some of the more historical parts and poetic parts of scripture.

[20:21] Maybe get a bit of a bigger picture about Asaf if you want, but we may assume that people recognizing him would, well, here he is, and he's renowned and he has this position from God in the structures and in the organization of the worship.

[20:35] But on the inside, I mean he's got to still do what he's got to do, but on the inside he's going through this. We're just assuming that he was his return as it were on the rota came up. And no one would know on the inside what was going on.

[20:48] But see the wisdom and the grace even that God gives. Because when he's going through this, he seems like he's bursely to just let it out. Just wanting to say and wanting to share it. But verse 15 he says this, if I had said I will speak thus, I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

[21:10] See, it's not that saying it was wrong, but saying it while he was going through it would have been so destructive to other people's faith. But saying it once he's come out of it is so constructive. I mean we're here today and think we can find this like a lifeline sometimes.

[21:26] And be so thankful to God that he sent days are through what he sent them through. That even Peter or David or whoever else he would think not only in failings, but also people who receive such blessings.

[21:38] Life in the spirit, life in God's providence and his abundance poured down like even the exiles coming back from Babylon. Or the believers on the day of the resurrection who couldn't believe for joy that Jesus was alive.

[21:53] We thank God for the joys and sorrows recorded here so that we can look at them and think, I know this. And going through life and thinking through situations and being tempted to question God's goodness.

[22:07] And even to the point of saying, this man is being honest. In verse 13 you notice there he's saying it very clearly, I have all in vain kept my heart. I've wasted my time.

[22:19] What is the point of serving God faithfully? If this is the way it turns out, and when these people who hate God and have no time for Him, but mock and blaspheme and do whatever they want, their lives go well.

[22:34] There's something wrong in God's administration. There's something wrong where God seems to reward the ungodly and unbelieving and unholy. He rewards them and yet he tests and he tries and he crushes and he breaks people he tried to be faithful to.

[22:50] What a dilemma. You know, Job's friends, they did something like this where they came to try and help him. They said, you know, this kind of thing doesn't happen to people unless they've done something wrong.

[23:02] And that wasn't true. But they just couldn't get their heads around it. Asaph seems to be struggling with this great dilemma, the theodicy, the how can God do good to the evil and send heart to the good?

[23:15] It just doesn't make sense. Humanly Satan loves tearing us in pieces with it. And you might be in these places sometimes and they can be very dark. They can be very depressing.

[23:27] They can almost leave you in a position of despair. As Psalm 107 speaks, yes despair, you're at your wit's end. You feel you're just at the edge. You feel you can't take any more of it.

[23:39] And when things don't make sense. But no, this isn't the end for this man. You know, there's a third thing, there's correction. He has conviction. God is good to Israel.

[23:51] He makes expression and testimony to the fact of his confusion. He got things so very wrong as he tried to assess God's heart by God's hand.

[24:02] He's pouring goodness on bad and he's sending hardship to the good. What on earth does that mean? What kind of God is this? I mean, he really went to that place and he was shaken and he was tried and he was listening to it.

[24:15] But the correction comes along amazingly. Where in 16 he says, when I understood, when I thought how to understand this, it was a weirdy sum task. It was just too much trying to get my head round this.

[24:29] Amazingly, 17, what amazing providence that one day he went into the house of God and then everything changed. It's like you coming here today or me coming here or whenever we gather amigod God's people and the word is open.

[24:43] We expect, we hope, we pray we long for the presence and ministry of God to be with us. And we come with whatever's going on in our lives or in our thinking, in our homes, whatever we've left behind, whatever we're going back to, whatever the last week has held, whatever this week holds, you know what it's like.

[24:59] We just don't know sometimes. We don't know how we're going to cope, how's it going to work and what's God going to do if anything. Then we come to his house and then we hear something from the word.

[25:10] We hear something, we hear a message from God and it changes absolutely everything. It changes not the situation, maybe it's not that the situation itself is ever going to change.

[25:24] What's going on maybe going to be with you or with me for the rest of our lives, the foreseeable future anyway. Something that has happened and come along that clearly has come from God's hand but clearly, as clearly we know, God himself isn't going to undo and they could be as many examples of that.

[25:41] And how we have to adjust, readjust, realign, I mean these things can seem impossible. Seem impossible and we can go into denial, we can become, if Aceh had gone the next few steps, he may even become embittered about this and blaming God for everything.

[25:58] But here he comes face to face, we believe, with God himself in the house. The details aren't spelled out but I went into the sanctuary, then I discerned therein.

[26:11] A light came on, he was in a dark place, he was in a confused place, but God gave him clarity in his thinking. And he understood that as it were, taking a few massive steps back from where he was looking and from where he was thinking.

[26:28] Looking at this life he said, I'm going to get everything wrong. But evaluating this life and light of the next is how I'll get everything right. Reset the balance. In what way? See what he's saying in 18, truly, 17 says, I went into the sanctuary.

[26:43] Until I went into the sanctuary I was in this state and then when I went into the sanctuary, I discerned therein. It's like God made very clear, gave a revelation and disclosure with power and clarity and absolute certainty to his mind and heart.

[27:00] He was just taken with us, realising what's actually coming the way of people who spend their lives rebelling against God. They can have everything and today you can think of it, you can have whatever you can want.

[27:13] You've maybe got this, you've got that, you've got the next thing. And please don't think we're saying, oh right, if that's you, not a Christian, then all the rest is through of you. And it's this kind of judgmental thing. It's in all of us. You see what we're trying to say.

[27:24] The difference is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, by faith, by repentance. If that isn't through of us, we're living apart from him. We're outside of that kingdom into which he calls us by his gospel, by his word.

[27:38] And if we're outside of it, then it doesn't matter what we do or don't have, get or don't get. Think or don't think. God is bringing us face to face with the end and it's understanding the present in terms of the future that'll give us real clarity.

[27:57] So where you have Satan getting hold of him and pulling him this way, pulling him that way and saying, look at these people. Look at all they've got, Esau. Look at all that you don't have in health and wealth and death.

[28:08] They've got it all. You've got none of that. What does that mean? What's the point of trying to please God and earn his favour as well he wasn't trying to, but creating that impression in the way you're living?

[28:21] And then God takes him aside and says, Esau, don't listen to that. Think about what you have in the present in light of what you're going to have in the future.

[28:32] And that's the last thing. We'll be brief with this. It leads him to confirmation. Coming through all of this, he says in 21, when my soul was in bitter, I was pregnant in my heart. I mean, he became convinced of the how really crazy he'd been thinking.

[28:48] To the point of saying in 22, it's like an animal. He was irrational. I was brutish and ignorant. I was like a beast towards you. It's what he's saying to God. I was thinking like an irrational animal.

[29:00] He had as much intelligence in that thought process and crisis as the sheep out there. You think about that. Thinking not only of the sheep, but there are aggressiveness maybe deep down.

[29:11] Maybe this resistance, brutish, ignorant, this beastliness, this about and that is so inhuman and so irrational. But he comes past that and he reaches this point in 23.

[29:23] The glorious words, nevertheless, I am continually with you. Now again, if we had the wee ones here or to point it out afterwards, if we get a chance in this section, notice how much he's saying you and you are. It all becomes so centered and focused on God.

[29:40] Satan will shift their focus from God to possessions, to health, to life, to all these many things that maybe we don't have or are deprived and he'll say, but look at all the rest.

[29:51] God loves them. He must be telling you you're such a bad bird. You know, he doesn't even need to take your mind outside the church and Christian relationships. He can look and take you in the church and say, look at that Christian.

[30:05] Look at that believer over there and you know them well and you know a lot about them and look at their lives and look at yours. And he can say, well, you know, he's blessing them, but he's judging you.

[30:16] And he doesn't love you like he loves them and many different things. The problems that can come along. But God will have us. And what a wonderful thing is amazing about this.

[30:27] We believe that it's God who took Asaph to this place. Asaph didn't think himself out of it. There's some situations out of which we may think ourselves. You see the last time we were singing 43 where the Asamists is talking to himself.

[30:41] People say, you're mad if you talk to yourself. The scriptures we find believe we're talking to them. So why are you cast down on my soul? Like get a hold of yourself. Asaph wasn't in that place though.

[30:53] It's a sense where he had gone past that line in his thinking. He was really caught and really entangled and ensnared by this. Like in a web out of which he couldn't free himself, from which he couldn't free himself.

[31:04] But God took him out of it. And God gave him this disclosure, this insight, this revelation. And at the end of it he's saying in this life, who do I have on earth? He said, I've got no this, no one I desire besides you.

[31:16] What Satan was doing was taking this man Asaph's mind and heart. And Satan's heart was going along with it, believer though he was. Get his focus away from God.

[31:28] Stop him thinking about everything he has in having God and possessing God. Just deprive him of all of these blessings. And wanting him to think about the things that you can or can't have in this life that you can gain and lose.

[31:42] But God is saying, no you've got me. You've got me and in having me Asaph was like completely just, blown away with the recollection through this revelation where he's face to face with all he has in having God.

[31:57] He can have or not have, he can have or lose. It's like Job was able to say, the Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord, he worshiped.

[32:09] Because he's got God, he has God, God has him. Who do I have in heaven but you? We're going to sing this in just a minute. There's no one I desire beside you. Do you know what that means?

[32:21] You're a Christian, if you're a believer, there's these times your heart rises up and wants to shout and rejoice with that. There's other times that even when you can't, rise up in that joy and acknowledgement and response, you know it nonetheless.

[32:35] You know it. And you know there is nothing and no one in this life who can ever even begin to compare with him. In having God you have everything. More than you could ever need, more than you could ever want.

[32:51] And you know that. But don't worry if you're in places and if you're in times, well you can't say it like you could before. You'll say it again. But for you who don't know the Lord, you know you're missing out like we all were on so much.

[33:07] Jesus said, and really will stop, Jesus said that he, among other things, he said I have come, that they might have life and have it abundantly. This world and all you'll get, you're going to lose.

[33:21] So depressing to even think about that in a sense. Whatever dreams, whatever things you're building up and nothing wrong with having, nothing wrong with enjoying. The book of Ecclesiastes stresses that.

[33:32] Enjoy the blessings God gives. But don't replace the place in your life that God must have. Don't replace that with things because you're going to lose them. Even other people because we're going to lose them.

[33:45] It's having God as the center, having Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and knowing what he said. When he said to his father John 17, this is eternal life. What is this life he's come to give?

[33:56] It is that they might know you. A living relationship with God that begins and never ends. Involves going through stuff like this, that you wish you didn't have to go through, but through and at the end of it you're more amazed with this God and you know him more and more real than as real as the people sitting beside you just now.

[34:17] He speaks to you, he's real to you, he sometimes hides himself from you, but you realize that everything that is indescribable about him in the present is absolutely incomparable with what's coming in the future.

[34:30] And Aceph saw that and he thought, this life doesn't mean anything. All these things don't mean anything. I have you and though my heart fails, you never will. You're the strength of my heart forever.

[34:42] You know, he's saying I will go through this life and afterwards, having you in this life and all of that means, he says afterwards you will receive me to glory. He says, what have I been thinking about?

[34:55] May God help us, God guide us and God bless us with that deepening or maybe discovering of what this means to know him. Nothing like it.

[35:06] So the Bible's all about. It's not about rules and regulations, they come into it. We're not legalists, but now we have to throw God's word away and say, well, live whatever way you want. We come into a relationship with Jesus through God's mighty grace by faith so that we find our acceptance with God on the basis of Jesus's life and death.

[35:26] But thereafter we seek to spend our lives in obedience, loving, surrendering obedience to Him. Not in this bondage, not in this weight and shackles of do this or don't do this, instead of love.

[35:38] And John said that God's commandments are not burdensome. Let me, David said, run in the way, no he didn't actually, he said I will run in the way of your commandments, I'm 119.

[35:51] Are we like that? Do we love God? God granted that we'll discover this amazing reality of discovering more of this God. We better stop there, we'll pray briefly and then we'll sing.

[36:04] We'll sing our last singing. Lord our God, we give thanks to have the opportunity to be together and for these few moments that we have, may it be the beginning for us, may it spur us on even to seek more and to seek to discover what is of new in his coming through to that place of what seems to be indescribable almost for him, where he erupts into such praise and thanksgiving and acknowledgement that you are his life.

[36:33] Preserve us, we pray, and may your blessing rest upon us. In Jesus' name. Amen.