Sermon Date: March 15, 2015
Sermon By: Pastor Dale Raether
Look to the Glory of God to Get Rid of Stress
A sermon preached at New Hope Lutheran Church, West Melbourne, FL on March 15, 2015 by Pastor Dale Raether
Please visit our Synod’s website at www.wels.net
Look to the Glory of God to Get Rid of Stress
What do you do to get rid of stress? Some people just kind of veg-out like this individual. Others take a more active approach. They run – a lot. Which end of the scale are you on, and is it working for you? Or, is what you’re doing causing you more stress? Take for example the guy who comes home everyday stressed out from work and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. All he just wants to do is watch TV or play video games. How might doing that actually increase his stress? Well, it certainly will increase his wife’s stress, not having anyone to talk to all day, and not having any help with the kids, and if the wife’s not happy, he’s not happy. But actually the same might be said for the person, who works out in the gym three nights per week. He says he has to do that, so he can be more productive at work. Still, where does his family fit into his schedule? They don’t. And so, the real cost of this man’s stress relief can be closeness with his wife, and a sense of fulfillment that comes with watching his children grow up. And then when they all start crying out or acting out in their pain and loneliness, things can get really stressful. Maybe you’ve been through things like this in the past, or maybe you’re going through some of this right now. Psalm 19 is God’s way of getting rid of stress. Look to His Glory. 1. See His glory revealed by creation. 2. See His glory revealed in His Word. 3. See His glory revealed in our lives.
1. See His glory revealed by creation.
Our text reads: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. – Psalm 19:1, 4 Whether we look up on a clear night and see the panorama of stars, or whether we look through a telescope and see beauty that just makes us a wow, God is silently telling us something. He is all-powerful. He formed all this on the fourth day by saying, “Let there be.” The stars at night also show us God’s wisdom. Just as he knows how many hairs are on our head, He has named every star in the universe. And if one blows up into a supernova or changes into a black hole, God knows that too.
In light of what we’re seeing in these pictures, let me ask you. Is there a stress in your life that God’s power and wisdom can’t resolve? The answer is shamefully obvious. I said shamefully, because in spite of the fact that the sun comes up every morning and sets every evening, we worry. We worry that the situation we’re going through is different than things we’ve gone through in the past, and THIS time around, all is lost. God can’t help us. Really?
It’s ironic that when people don’t look to God for help, sometimes they’ll look to the stars He created. And so, they won’t make any decisions until they check their horoscope, and then they feel safe to go forward. People who do that need to know there is zero connection between the stars and whatever is going on in their life, and that they are offending God by trusting that there is a connection. Another thing that’s ironic are atheists using the stars as evidence that there is no God and that our lives are insignificant. People, who say that, have no excuse, and sadly they end up with a lot more stress in their life, because they have nothing.
But as for us, whether we’re in a relatively trouble free time of our life, or everything is falling apart, look up at night. Or, in the day look around you. Everywhere we turn, there is beauty. Everywhere there are things that remind of us God’s power and wisdom. Praise Him for that. And as we do, we’ll realize what things that are truly insignificant. Our stresses are insignificant, because God knows them all, and God knows us. Furthermore, whatever our stresses may be, God wants us to turn to Him everyday, just like the sun comes up everyday.
2. See His glory revealed in His Word.
However, looking to God’s glory in creation isn’t enough to keep our stress levels under control. We need more. Now, this section is long. But please pay close attention, because after I read this, I will explain why it’s so long. The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. – Psalm 19:7-11 What we have here is six names for God’s Word, six characteristics of God’s Word, and six blessings of God’s Word. God said the same thing in six different ways, because His greatest glory is not revealed in creation. His greatest glory is revealed in His Word, and that’s because our greatest needs are not earthly. They are spiritual and eternal.
Now, God’s Word helps us to understand that. Yet God isn’t out to rub our faces in our problems. He only wants us to see what we are, that we are sinners, so we will open our eyes to what IS His greatest glory. God’s greatest glory is that His Son became a man with us, in order to be perfect for us. For example, how did Jesus deal with stress? He prayed. He trusted. He went forward to do God’s will no matter what. We see this especially in the Garden of Gethsemane. Three times he prayed, “Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me. Yet, not my will be done, your will be done.” After Jesus had given all His stress to the Father, He was able to calmly say to His disciples, “Get up, here comes my betrayer.”
I want to emphasize that in doing this Jesus wasn’t just our example to follow. He was being our substitute. And so, when we have handled stress by freaking out instead of looking up, or we handled stress by staying away from God’s Word and trying to do everything on our own, or occupying our mind with trivial things, those are all sins! But Jesus paid for all such sins with His death on the cross for us, and Jesus counts the perfect life He lived as our perfect life through faith in Him.
Think what this means for us. The Creator of the universe is at peace with us through His Jesus. And so, God lets us make decisions. He even let’s us mess up and make bad decisions, like spending all our time on the couch, or the other extreme, spending all our time exercising to the neglect of our family and the neglect of His Word. Yet Jesus paid for all of that too. And now for Jesus’ sake, God works with us in our sins and our stupidity, and He uses His power and wisdom to still work in all things for good.
Think what knowing this does to our stress level? There’s no more fear, because God is in control. And there’s no more guilt, because with Christ we can go forward each new day in joy and confidence. So, what’s it worth to you to live such a life? Psalm 19 answers. They (the words of God) are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. – Psalm 19:10-11 The really neat thing about dealing with stress by looking to God’s glory in His Word is it protects us from doing more stupid things, which would add to our stress. Also, as the peace of His forgiveness takes hold of us, we love because He first loved us. And the result of that is blessings on top of blessings.
3. See His glory revealed in our lives.
There is one more thing that needs to happen, before we can really get on top of all the stresses in our life. We need to make the message of God’s power and wisdom and love our very own. We read on in Psalm 19. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. – Psalm 19:12-13 We are going to have trouble seeing God’s power, wisdom, and love as long as we’re hanging on to any sins of pride or selfishness. Often we may not even realize we’re doing that. However just because our errors and faults are hidden to us, that doesn’t mean they’re not hindering us from seeing God’s glory in our life. And so, we pray, “Jesus, forgive me for the sins I wasn’t aware I was committing.” And He does! And because He forgives us, He gradually reveals some of our secret sins to us. And when He does, it hurts. It hurts our pride, and sometimes it amazes us that God still wants anything to do with us. However, we’re not alone when we have such feelings. Both the Prophet Jeremiah and the Apostle John describe how God’s Word was sweeter than honey to them, and they rejoiced in everything that God had done for them. But then they felt sick to their stomach realizing their sinfulness.
When we feel sick to our stomachs over our sinfulness, that’s a good thing, because then God’s glory in Christ will be that much brighter to us. Also, then we will keep ourselves as far away from sin as we can, and that in itself is going to make for a less stress in our life. However, the purpose of less stress isn’t to lie on a couch or sit in the pew and do nothing. No, the purpose of a stress free life is to take on stress, that is, good stress. Psalm 19 concludes: May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14 Sharing Jesus with others is stressful at times, but it’s glorious. It’s glorious, because God is glorious. It’s glorious, because God works through us, weak sinners that we are. And it’s glorious, because many more are being brought to His glory, and for all of this, God is intent on glorifying us in heaven some day. What, then, left for us to do in response to God’s glory? Take a deep breath and relax, and keep on glorifying Him! Amen.
Please visit our Synod’s website at www.wels.net