Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic book of the Psalms which is a compilation of prayers, praise and petitions contained within psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the one-hundred and thirty-sixth chapter of the Psalms and continues through the one-hundred and forty-first chapter of the same book. O GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD! O GIVE THANKS UNTO THE GOD OF GODS! O GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD OF LORDS! DOETH GREAT WONDERS! BY WISDOM MADE THE HEAVENS! STRETCHED OUT THE EARTH ABOVE THE WATERS! MADE GREAT LIGHTS! SMOTE EGYPT IN THEIR FIRSTBORN! BROUGHT OUT ISRAEL FROM AMONG THEM! WITH A STRONG HAND, AND WITH A STRETCHED OUT ARM! WHICH DIVIDED THE RED SEA INTO PARTS! MADE ISRAEL TO PASS THROUGH THE MIDST OF IT! OVERTHREW PHARAOH AND HIS HOST IN THE RED SEA! LED HIS PEOPLE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS! SMOTE GREAT KINGS! SLEW FAMOUS KINGS! SIHIN KING OF AMORITES! OG THE KING OF BASHAN! GAVE THEIR LAND FOR AN HERITAGE! AN HERITAGE UNTO ISRAEL HIS SERVANT! REMEMBERED US IN OUR LOW ESTASTE! REDEEMED US FROM OUR ENEMIES! GIVE FOOD TO ALL FLESH! THE GOD OF HEAVENS! GENESIS 1! EXODUS 5-13! EXODUS 14! When you come to this particular section of Scripture you will encounter another one of the most beloved and well-known Psalms within this entire compilation of psalms. As you come near unto the one-hundred and thirty-sixth chapter of the book of Psalms you will find a phrase that is repeated time and time again within this chapter—a phrase that is used elsewhere in Scripture as an invitation to give thanks unto the LORD. Upon reading the words which are found within this particular psalm you will find the psalmist instructing and inviting their reader and audience to give thanks unto the LORD—and not only to give thanks unto the LORD, but to give thanks unto the LORD for He is good. What’s more, is the psalmist goes on to describe and declare that not only is the LORD good, but His mercy endures forever. Twenty-six times within twenty-six verses the psalmist emphatically boasts and declares the mercy of the LORD endures forever, and with each declaration of the mercy of the LORD enduring forever there is an emphatic statement of the activity of the LORD within the earth. In order to truly understand the words which are found within this particular psalm we must recognize and understand that the mercy of the LORD enduring forever is directly linked, and is an extension and expression of His divine acts and power in the midst of the earth. The psalmist emphatically declares over and over again that the mercy of the LORD endures forever, and this statement cannot be overlooked and cannot be treated lightly. The mercy of the LORD is one of the core and foundational parts of His divine nature, and not only does His mercy endure forever, but His mercies are new each and every morning. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to think about and consider the fact that not only are the mercies of the LORD with each morning, but the mercies of the LORD endure forever in the midst of the generations which have existed upon the earth.
This particular psalm begins and opens with an invitation to give thanks unto the LORD, and three times within the opening three verses we find the psalmist instructing and inviting their reader and audience to give thanks unto the LORD. In the first and opening verse the psalmist invites the reader to give thanks unto the LORD for He is good and His mercy endures forever, while in the second and third verses the psalmist invites their reader and audience to give thanks unto the LORD who is the God of gods, and who is the LORD of lords. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand the words which are found within this passage, for the words which are found within these verses not only demonstrate and highlight the mercy of the LORD, but they also highlight the goodness of the LORD—the goodness of the LORD which can and will be seen in the land of the living. The opening verse of this chapter begins with the invitation to give thanks unto the LORD, and to do so because the LORD is good and His mercy endures forever. The second and third verses, however, don’t necessarily speak to the goodness of the LORD, but rather speak to the sovereignty and supremacy of the LORD. When you read the second and third verses you will encounter the awesome and incredible reality that the living and eternal God is sovereign and supreme over all other gods and all other lords which exist within the earth. The psalmist was clearly seeking to distinguish the LORD from all the other gods which were formed, fashioned and worshipped within the earth, and all the other lords which posed as imposters and counterfeits within and among the hearts of men. In all reality, I have to admit that this is quite intriguing and captivating when you take the time to think about and consider it, for not only did the psalmist describe how the LORD was good and His mercy endures forever, but the psalmist wanted to be sure their reader(s) and their audience knew that the LORD whom they were giving thanks to was above all other gods, and was above all other lords. The psalmist essentially wanted the reader(s) to know that there was no other god like living and eternal God, and there was no other lord by the LORD of heaven and earth. This is absolutely important, for the progression of this psalm builds upon the undeniable reality that the living and eternal God is set far above every other god, and far above every other lord present within the earth, and that there is none that can compare to Him.
It is with this in mind that I feel it is necessary and imperative to bring you face to face with the words which the LORD Himself declared unto Moses atop the mountain of God in the wilderness of Sinai, as well as the words which Moses himself spoke unto that new generation which emerged in the wilderness. Moreover, I feel it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah when this ancient Hebrew prophet sought to distinguish the living and eternal God from all other gods, all other images, all other idols, all other lords, and everything else men would form and fashion. I also feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Roman saints concerning the glory of the eternal God, and how although there is none like, and although there is none other than the LORD, man still persisted in forming and fashion idols and images of their own imagination and their own choosing. Consider if you will the following words found within these passages which highlight, demonstrate and underscore the truly astonishing and remarkable reality that the living and eternal God is set high above every other god and every lord in the earth and under the earth:
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORd will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:1-11).
“Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that flowery with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
“Who hath measure the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counseller hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Behold, ,the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? Saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:18-31).
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew god, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an I mage made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up into vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:18-32).
GOD OF GODS! LORD OF LORDS! THERE IS NONE LIKE THE LORD! THE LORD IS SOVEREIGN AND SUPREME OVER ALL OTHER GODS! WHO ALONG DOETH GREAT WONDERS! BY WISDOM MADE THE HEAVENS! STRETCHED OUT THE EARTH ABOVE THE WATERS! MADE GREAT LIGHTS! THE SUN TO RULE BY DAY! THE MOON AND STARS TO RULE BY NIGHT! GENESIS 1:1-25). HEBREWS 11:1-6! As you continue reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that after the psalmist invites the reader to give thanks unto the LORD, they seek to emphasize the greatness of the living and eternal God above all other gods and above all other lords. The psalmist undoubtedly wanted to reveal and speak directly unto the reader and audience bringing them to the place where would stand humbly before the LORD and realize and recognize that He was sovereign and supreme above all others, and that there was none like Him in the heavens, in the earth, or under the earth. This reality would be expressed by the apostle Paul in the epistle he wrote unto the Philippian saints concerning Jesus the Christ as the apostle would speak of Christ being exalted unto the right hand of the Father—unto the right hand of all power and all authority—and being given a name that is above every other name. This name that would be given unto Jesus would be of such great and infinite worth, value, and power that every knee would bow, and every tongue would confess—whether in the heavens, or in the earth, or in the earth below—that Jesus Christ is Lord. Even the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost would speak unto all those within the sound of his voice and would emphatically declare that the God and Father of Jesus not only exalted Him unto His right hand, but also took this Jesus whom the religious leaders with the help of sinful Romans crucified and made Him both Christ and Lord. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for when we come before the LORD with our worship we must acknowledge that He is above all others, and that there is none like Him. As we worship before the throne of the LORD our God we must readily and heartily acknowledge that He alone is God and that there are no other gods who can even compare to Him. When we bow before the throne of the living God we must humbly acknowledge that the LORD is indeed Lord over and above all other lords, and that there is none that can come close to Him. This is precisely what the LORD sought to emphasize when speaking unto Moses the servant of the LORD from the midst of the thick darkness and cloud atop the mountain of God in the wilderness, for the opening series of the Ten Commandments highlighted and underscored the supremacy and sovereignty of God—namely, that there was none other than Him.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be drawn to the fact that when we worship—or when we attempt to worship—the LORD our God, we must approach that worship from the standpoint that the LORD alone is God and that there is none like Him. We must approach the throne of God acknowledging that there is none other like Him, and that there are no other gods who are worthy to be worshipped. In fact, two of the greatest dangers facing worship is somehow thinking there are other gods who are worthy to be worshipped, or forming and fashioning gods within our own hearts and minds which we seek to worship. Moreover, one of the greatest dangers we face is to somehow worship God in an image we have made, which is precisely what Aaron and the children of Israel did at the foot of the mountain while Moses was in the presence of the living and eternal God receiving the Law with its commandments, as well as the pattern for the Tabernacle. Moreover, this same sin would be committed by Jeroobam son of Nebat when he became the first king over the northern kingdom of Israel. You will recall that Jeroboam set up two golden calves—one in Dan, while the other one in Beth-el—in order that those in the northern kingdom of Israel might worship before these images. In both cases—the case of Aaron the brother of Moses, and Jeroboam son of Nebat king over Israel—you will find that not only did they construct these golden calves, but they also proclaimed that these were the gods who delivered the people of God out of their slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt. How do we worship God in the image we have made? We do so when we form and fashion a god of our own imagination, of our own intellect, of our own wisdom, of our own desire, and we then proceed to ascribe unto that god the worship that belongs to the LORD alone. Moreover, we are guilty of worshipping God in the image we have made when we form and fashion false gods, and in the process of forming and fashioning those false gods we speak unto them as though they were the ones who delivered us, as though they were the ones who redeemed us, and as though they were the ones who saved us. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for as you continue to read the one-hundred and thirty-sixth chapter of the book of the Psalms you will find the palmist going on to speak of the great and wondrous works of the LORD—not only His wondrous works in creation, but also His wondrous works in delivering the children of Israel out of the slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt, saving them through the waters of the Red Sea while consuming their enemies before them. Moreover, the LORD their God would also destroy and defeat great and powerful kings before them—namely, Og king of Bashan and Sihon the Amorite.
Upon further reading of this passage of Scripture you will find that after emphatically declaring that the LORD is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, they proclaim how the LORD alone does great wonders. This particular statement would set the stage for what they would speak and write next, for if you continue reading the words which are found in this psalm you will find that in order to demonstrate the holiness, the sovereignty and supremacy of the living and eternal God they would begin with creation and how the LORD created the heavens and the earth. In order to truly understand this reality, I feel it necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote in what we know to be the eleventh chapter of the epistle. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of this chapter you will find the author writing and speaking concerning faith—and not only what faith is, but what faith accomplishes, and what faith produces within the heart and life of the saint and servant of the living God. With that being said, however, it is absolutely necessary that we consider the words found within this passage of Scripture, for they help us to understand the words which the psalmist explained in this particular psalm. Consider if you will the following words which were written and recorded by the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear…But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a reward er of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:1-3, 6).
With these words the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews proclaims and declares that faith is the substance of things hoped for, as well as the evidence of things not seen. Moreover, the author would speak of faith and how it was by faith the elders obtained a good report before and unto the LORD. Where the author takes this particular portion of the epistle next is truly astonishing and remarkable, for the author would expressly state that it is through faith we understand that the worlds were famed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Please don’t miss the supreme importance of this, for the author expressly declares that the very foundation of faith is not only believing that God is, but also believing that God created the heavens and the earth. The author of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews wrote and emphatically declared unto their readers and their audience that the living and eternal God created everything that was made in the heavens and everything that was made in the earth and everything that was made under the earth. Oh consider what great and tremendous faith is required to exist within and upon this earth, as living and moving upon the earth requires a great deal of faith to believe that everything we see before and all around us was created by the eternal and infinite mind and word of the living God, and that there is nothing made that was not made by and through Him. Existing within and upon the earth is something we must truly recognize and understand as being something which requires a great deal of faith, for we must believe that God is, and that God formed and created absolutely everything we see before and in front of us. It was the living and eternal God who created the heavens and the earth, and it was the living and eternal God who created everything we see before and all around us. In all reality, I would dare say that it might take more faith to resist this truth and to live ones life as an athiest and/or an agnostic and somehow believe that there was not some intelligent design and Designer that was behind everything that we see. Truthfully, faith is required to even begin reading the Word of God, for from the very beginning of the Old Testament book of Genesis we are not only confronted with the reality that God is, and that God existed in the beginning—even before the beginning. Even moving beyond the first and opening chapter of the book of Genesis requires a great deal of faith, for if you cannot settle and stablish in your heart that God is, that God was, and that God was in the beginning you cannot proceed with the rest of the Scripture. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews clearly states that without faith it is impossible to please God, and that He is. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this reality, for the essence of faith is the belief and the conviction that the living and eternal God is—and not only that He is, but that existed in the beginning before time and space were ever created.
In the one-hundred and thirty-sixth chapter of the book of the Psalms we find the author writing how the LORD our God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, but then goes on to write and declare that it is He alone who does great wonders. After highlighting and underscoring the supremacy and sovereignty of the living and eternal God the psalmist goes on to explain and express the great wonders which the LORD did by writing of the LORD making the heavens by His wisdom, and stretching out the earth above the waters. Moreover, the psalmist would go on to describe how this God of gods made great lights—the sun to rule by day, and the moon and the stars to rule by night. When speaking of the great and glorious wonders the LORD did, the psalmist would speak and declare of the wonders of creation, and how God not only existed in the beginning, but how in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In all reality, we cannot speak of the wondrous works the LORD has done without first acknowledging that He is, and without acknowledging that He created the heavens and the earth. What’s more, is that I am convinced that any true dialogue concerning the great wonders which the living God performs must begin in the beginning where we read of the LORD existing and the LORD being. Moreover, speaking of the great and wonderful works which the LORD performed and accomplished in the midst of the earth must always begin with creation, for any true discussion of the great and wonderful works of the LORD must in all reality begin at creation when the living and eternal God created both the heavens and the earth, as well as everything that is contained within them. This reality is further expressed in the eighth chapter of the poetic book of Proverbs, for what we find in the eighth chapter of the book of Proverbs is an empathic declaration and confirmation of what the psalmist wrote in this particular chapter—namely, that it was by wisdom the LORD made the heavens, stretched out the earth above the waters, and made the great lights to govern the day and the night. With that being said, consider if you will the words which are found in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis, as well as the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Proverbs:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.k And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving created that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that move the, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifty day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:1-25).
“Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O m en, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and , ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out k now ledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than find gold; and m y revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will find their treasures. The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the d empty: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, wanting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain FAVOUR of the LORD. But he that sinners against me wrongeth his own soul: all that they hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:1-36).
Both of these passages absolutely necessary to consider when we read the words found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms, for in the one-hundred and thirty-sixth chapter of the book of Psalms we find the psalmist declaring that it was wisdom the LORD made the heavens, and it was by wisdom the LORD stretched out the earth above the waters. We read the words which are found within the first and opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis, and upon reading those words we encounter and come face to face with the fact that in the beginning God was, and in the beginning God created. What’s more, is that we encounter the awesome reality that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The entire first chapter of the Scripture—the entire first chapter of the book of Genesis—speaks not only of the eternal nature of the LORD God of heaven and earth, but also of His creative power and His creative genius. The first and opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis highlights and underscores the truly wonderful and remarkable reality that the LORD created the heavens and the earth and everything that is found and contained therein. This is truly necessary to think about and consider, for when we worship before the living and eternal God we must acknowledge that He alone is the God of creation, and that He alone made the heavens and the earth. Faith is the acknowledgement that God is, and faith believes that God is, and that He is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him. What’s more, is that David himself stood in awe of that which the living and eternal God created, for when he looked at, and when he looked upon creation he was brought face to face with his own frailty, and his own humility. When David looked at the creation of God, and when He considered the heavens and the earth he found himself wondering what man was that the LORD was mindful of him. I am convinced that in order to understand the words we find in the one-hundred and thirty-sixth chapter of the book of the Psalms, as well as the words which are found in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, and the eighth chapter of the book of Proverbs it is necessary to turn and direct our attention to the words which the psalmist David wrote in the eighth chapter of the book of the Psalms. The words which we find here within this psalm speak directly to the testimony, the witness and the song of creation, and how creation itself is one of the greatest witnesses of the sovereignty and supremacy of the living God. David looked at the work of the fingers of the LORD, and all that he had made, and it was that reality of everything the LORD had made that caused David to bow before Him in humility, in worship, in adoration, and in complete and utter awe. With this. In mind, consider if you will the words found in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:
“O LORD our LORD, How excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1-9).
With these words we find David looking at the heavens above, which were the work of His fingers, and standing completely in awe of what was before him. The psalmist David spoke of the moon and the stars which the LORD ordained, and this revelation of creation and this revelation in creation was a tremendous testament and witness to him of his own frailty and his own humanity, and how the same God who created the heavens and the earth was mindful of him. For David, the revelation found within creation was perhaps one of the greatest testaments and testimonies exclaiming and extolling the greatness and sovereignty of the LORD God Almighty, and thrust David into a place of great humility, reverence and awe before the LORD. David considered the heavens and all that the LORD created and made, and that revelation and that knowledge was too wonderful for him, for the same God which created everything in heaven and earth was the same God which was mindful of him. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the same God which created the heavens and the earth was and is mindful of you and knows the very hairs of your head and has numbered them. Stop and consider the fact that the same God who formed the heavens and the earth with nothing more than His word and wisdom is mindful of you and formed and fashioned you. It is this reality that is found in a few chapters over within this Old Testament book of the Psalms when David would again write concerning the greatness of the LORD, and His sovereignty over all creation and over mankind. Within the eighth chapter of the book of the Psalms we find David speaking of the heavens which the LORD created and standing in awe of the fact that the LORD was mindful of him, and what’s more is that you will find David going on to write and speak about the fact the LORD made man a little lower than the angels, crowned him with glory and honor, and made him to have dominion over the works of the hands of the LORD. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for when we speak of the wondrous works which the LORD God has performed we must not neglect and leave out what is perhaps His greatest creation, and the crowning achievement in all His creation. It is true the LORD created the heavens and the earth, and it is true that the LORD made the sun, the moon and the stars, and the LORD made the heavens and the earth and everything which is therein in five days, and yet on the sixth day the LORD engaged in creation which was unlike anything else that had been done. It would be on the sixth day when the LORD would create and make man in His image and after His likeness. In fact, it is this formation and creation of man that helps set the stage for what we read in the remaining portion of this one-hundred and thirty-sixth psalm for everything that is found within and throughout the rest of the chapter deals exclusively and specifically with the LORD’s dealing with man.
I am convinced that in order to truly understand and appreciate the words which are found in the rest of the one-hundred and thirty-sixth psalm it is necessary to turn and direct your attention—first and foremost to the first and second chapters of the Old Testament book of Genesis concerning the creation and formation of man, but also the words which the LORD spoke unto the prophet Jeremiah which are recorded in the first chapter of that prophetic book, as well as the words which are found in the one-hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of this poetic book of the Psalms. The psalmist spoke of the wondrous works of the LORD in the opening portion of this psalm, and even began by speaking directly to the wondrous works of the LORD in creation having created the heavens and the earth and everything that is found within them. What we find immediately after that, however, is a tremendous shift in language, for the psalmist continues to speak of the wondrous works of the LORD, yet those wondrous works move past the creation of the heavens and the earth, and deal specifically with the LORD’s deal with man—namely, delivering and redeeming him from the slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt, making a way and path through the waters of the Red Sea for him to pass through, destroying and drowning his enemies in the midst of those same waters of the Red Sea, and destroying great and powerful kings before the people of God. If we are going to speak about the great and wondrous works which the LORD performed for, on behalf of and in the midst of men it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we consider the creation and formation of man which is first expressed in the opening chapters of the Old Testament book of Genesis, and is further expressed and explained in both the book of the psalms through the pen of David, as well as the prophetic book of Jeremiah as the voice of the LORD spoke directly unto him concerning his being called, chosen, ordained and appointed by the living God:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to very beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:26-31).
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden…And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that those eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:1-17).
“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being in perfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (Psalm 139:1-18).
“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, LORD God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:4-10).
As you prepare to understand the wondrous works which are found within this particular psalm, it is not only necessary and imperative to begin with and consider creation and the work of the hands of Almighty God, but it is also necessary to consider the work of God in the creation and formation of man. Within the first chapter of the book of Genesis we learn and discover how man was created in the image and after the likeness of God, while in the second chapter of the book of Genesis we learn how man was formed from the dust of the ground, and how the LORD breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and caused him to become a living soul. In the book of Psalms and in the prophetic book of Jeremiah, however, we no longer finding man being formed from the dust of the ground, but being formed within the womb of a woman. The LORD specifically declared unto Jeremiah that before “he was formed” in the womb of his mother the LORD knew him and ordained him to be a prophet unto the nations. When David wrote his words in the one-hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of the book of the Psalms he too acknowledged the truth that the LORD knew him, possessed him, and formed him within the womb of his mother, thus further confirming the reality that man was no longer, and man is no longer formed of the dust of the ground, but rather within the womb of a woman. Oh, man is still created in the image and after the likeness of the living God, however, there is something unique that takes place when life is formed within the womb of a woman—namely, that the life which is conceived and brought forth bears the additional characteristics and semblance of the father and the mother. You will notice when Adam and Eve brought forth Seth into the world Adam declared that he had begotten one after his own likeness, thus indicating that even though man is still created in the image and after the likeness of God at the very core of their existence, there is the additional element of being in the image of the father and the mother. It actually causes me to wonder what Adam looked like when he was formed from the dust of the ground, and when the LORD breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Adam was the first and only one to ever be created in the image and after the likeness of God in its truest form, for he unlike David and every other man and woman was not created, nor was he conceived in sin.
Taking a step in an entirely different direction it is quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that the first Adam was the only one who was formed from the dust of the ground, and who was truly created in the image and likeness of the living God, for he came not from an earthly father, nor from an earthly mother. His existence was derived solely and entirely from the LORD, for he would be formed specifically and specially by the hands of Almighty God, and then experience the breath of God within his nostrils, thus causing him to become a living soul. Even Eve herself—though she wasn’t formed from the dust of the ground as Adam was—was taken and formed from and out of man as the LORD fashioned her from one of the ribs He had taken from Adam. When you consider each and every man and woman that has been conceived and brought into the world since then you must recognize and understand that each and every one of them came from the union of a man and a woman, and was conceived within the womb of a woman rather than the dust of the ground. This is even more interesting and astonishing when you think about and consider Jesus the Christ, for although Jesus Christ was born of a woman, He was not conceived by the union of a man and a woman. What’s more, is that Jesus was the express image of the eternal and living God as the only begotten of the Father. Jesus did not and would not bear the image of Joseph who was as it seemed unto everyone His father. This of course would be entirely and altogether problematic when Jesus would begin speaking of God as His Father. How absolutely remarkable it is to think about the fact that although Jesus was born of a woman He was the express image of the invisible God, and was referred to by the apostle Paul as the second Adam—one not formed as man would be formed, but was conceived by the Holy Ghost. The apostle Paul referenced this very pointed and powerful reality both in the epistle which was written unto the Colossian saints, as well as the epistle which was written unto the Roman saints. Consider if you will this Jesus who was the express image of the invisible God and who was the second Adam—one was conceived of the Holy Ghost within the womb of Mary, and one who grew within the womb, yet was not formed nor fashioned as each and every other man and woman was and has been. Hear the following words which were written and recorded by the apostle Paul unto these two congregations found within both Europe and Asia:
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).
“…giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it please the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:12-20).
I have to admit that the more I read the words which are found and recorded in this passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that what began with a declaration and statement of the supremacy of the eternal God over all other gods and over all other lords would transition into a place where the psalmist would declare unto their audience the wondrous works of the LORD. The psalmist would use creation to demonstrate the wondrous works of creation, and it is in creation we see the handiwork of the eternal God, and see the work of His fingers. Moreover, it is in creation where we encounter the truly awesome and wonderful truth concerning the formation of man from the dust of the ground, and how man became a living soul after the Lord breathed into His nostrils the breath of life. From that time on, however, man would be conceived as a direct result of the union of a man and a woman, and would be formed within the womb of the mother. No longer would the LORD form man from the dust of the ground, but would form man and woman within the womb of a woman. No longer would woman be formed from the rib of a man, but even our daughters would be formed and fashioned within the womb just as our sons are. Despite the fact that we are formed within the womb of a woman we still bear the image and likeness of the living God, and yet are called and invited to share in and be partakers of the divine nature of Jesus who is both Christ and Lord as we are conformed into His image. Oh that we would recognize and see the wondrous works of the LORD in not only creating and forming us in His image and after His likeness, but also the work of the Spirit in taking us and conforming us into the image of the dearly beloved and only begotten Son of the Father who is in heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the wonderful work of God in creation, as well as conforming. We were brought forth into this earth having been created in the image and likeness of the living God, and yet our sole ambition and our sole aim is to be conformed into the image of His eternal Son who is the express image of the invisible God. Essentially we are twice found in the image of God, for we are created in the image of God upon conception, and we are conformed into the image of God by being conformed into the image of His eternal Son who is the image and embodiment of the invisible God. Oh that we would make it our sole ambition, our soul desire, and our soul pursuit to be conformed into the image of the invisible and only begotten Son, and that we would seek and always strive to be conformed into the image of the second Adam despite the fact that the nature of the first Adam is still present within us. Oh that we would seek to crucify and put to death the nature of the first Adam that we might be partakers of the image of the second Adam who in turn is the image of the invisible God in whose image we have all been created in the first place.