You Crown the Year with Your Bounty!

Sermon Notes (Sunday December 27th, 2015)

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor

 

You Crown the Year with Your Bounty!

Psalm 65:11; Hebrews 1:8-12

 

This is the last Sunday of 2015. In a few days, the year will be coming to an end. I did not want us as individuals and as a congregation to miss the opportunity today to reflect upon both our lives and God’s faithfulness in 2015. I like to highlight a couple observations from Psalm 65 and Hebrews chapter one. I think both Scripture passages bring to us great insights.

 

First: The Goodness of God’s Presence

The first observation I would like to make this morning comes from Psalm 65. As we know from the title, Psalm 65 is a psalm of David. The title, however, does not inform us on what particular occasion it was written. Some scholars believe King David composed it after one of his life-threating situations. As David experienced the salvation and the deliverance of God, he gave a general acknowledgement of God’s Providence which extended itself to the end of the earth. The Psalm therefore has both the personal and corporate dimensions. It is an expression of personal and public thanksgiving for God’s deliverance and generosity.

 

I think what Psalm 65 is calling us to do is so simple. Slow down, look back and trace the generosity of God in your life. Toward the end of the Psalm, verse 11, David did the same thing and gave us his conclusion, “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” This is a witness of a man who took sometime and counted God’s blessings!

 

In other translations, Psalm 65:11 says, “You crown the year with Your goodness; Your ways overflow with plenty.” The emphasis here is on “Your goodness.” God’s goodness is a key word ~ “You crown the year with Your goodness.” It is not the goodness of the world, but of the Lord. What is God’s goodness? In order to understand the meaning of “God’s goodness”, we need to go back to an incident that is recorded in Exodus 33:18-20, “Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” He said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” So, what is God’s goodness? It is not His gifts; it is His very presence. Earlier in the chapter, Exodus 33:14, God said to Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

 

You probably know the story of the man who one night had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

 

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to trust and follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” Friends, our Savior is always present whether we knew it or not. As you look at your life today, can you sing the words of Psalm 65:11? If you’ve difficulty identifying the goodness of the Lord in your life, think of His presence. Earlier in Psalm 65:4, we read, “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.” It is who He is not what He gives.

 

Second: God is our Trustworthy Refuge

The second observation comes from the letter to the Hebrews chapter one and has to do with God being our trustworthy refuge. As we look at our lives in 2015 and as we look ahead to 2016, where does our help come from? I am sure that there are so many answers to such a question. Some would hope to find help in their material possessions. Others would put their trust in their health, job, family or friends. But Psalm 91:2 directs us into a different direction. It says, “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

 

Friends, everything in life might change, but God’s faithfulness and God’s Covenant with His children will never change. In Hebrews 1:10-12 we read, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.   You will roll them up like a robelike a garment they will be changed. But YOU remain the same, and your years will never end.” This is where we should put our trust. This is where we should throw our anchor. God and only God has been and will be out trustworthy and reliable refuge. 2 Timothy 1:12 states, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

 

Church, these two lessons I am suggesting this morning are so simple and yet so challenging. They are simple because they are crystal clear in the Scriptures. They are challenging because they work against our human nature. But as we see in God’s presence our utmost goodness and as we see in God our trustworthy fortress, I assure you of one great thing that will happen. We will make that transition from existing to living. There is a huge difference between someone who just exists and someone who has real life. So many people exist, but a few live. In other words, you will experience a different kind of living. Psalm 16 captures the essence of the message this morning. “Keep me safe, my God, for in YOU I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from YOU I have no good thing.” Best wishes for 2016. May we view God’s presence as our real goodness and our delightful inheritance. May we view our God as our Shield and Defender. In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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