************ Sermon on Psalm 67 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on November 21, 2001
"The Reason God Has Blessed Us"
I God Has Blessed Us
A Mr. Andy Ryskamp, the U.S. Director of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, asked me to take a mission tour with him. We left last week and came home yesterday. Let me read to you some of the high-lights from my diary:
Wednesday, November 14 - Mexico City. What a noisy, crowded place. Over 19 million people here. Andy took me to a garbage dump. Children are being paid $2.80 per day to scavenge for glass, cloth, and bones. They can eat whatever food they find. Many of these children live in shanties next to the dump. They even attend school in the dump; they are not allowed to attend other schools because of their smell.
Saturday, November 17 - New Delhi, India. Chedi Kumar Paswan is an 8 year old boy. Andy introduced me to him. Chedi's dad told him he had to go to the city and support himself. Chedi traveled 720 miles by train. He found a job in a restaurant. For $10 a month he works from 6 a.m. to midnight, 7 days a week, setting tables and removing dirty dishes. He gets to eat the lunch and dinner leftovers. He sleeps on a bench and, because the restaurant is open to the street, he gets wet when it rains.
Sunday, November 18 - Thailand. I asked Andy about all the young girls in front of our hotel. Andy called one of them over. Her name is Poo. She is ten years old. She is a prostitute. Her dad sold her for $400 because he couldn't afford to feed her. She told us she eats only when one of her customers feed her.
Tuesday November 20 - back to Visalia. Flying in to the Visalia Airport I can't help but see the contrast between where I was and where I am. From the airplane window I see schools, medical clinics, fire stations, and a sprawling hospital. I see all sorts of new factories along Road 80: Real-Fresh, Moulded Fibre Technology, The Allen Group, Ibex Packaging Corporation, Frito-Lay. I see new sub-divisions sprouting all over town like mushrooms on a lawn. I see that Holiday Inn is getting a renovation. I see the new Fairfield Inn on the corner of Akers and Highway 198. I see the huge expansion to the Cigna building right next to the school. After I land I flip on the car radio and hear about the surplus wheat and corn crop; there is so much wheat and corn that we are dumping it on world markets.
Now a disclaimer: I didn't take this trip but the people and names are real. I took you on this trip so you realize one thing: that we in Visalia have it so very good.
B Why do we have it so good? What's the reason for our prosperity? The Psalmist tells us in his opening prayer:
(Ps 67:1) May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us ...And later on, the Psalmist expresses his faith and confidence in God: "God will bless us," he says.
Why do we have it so good? What's the reason for our prosperity? Very simple, really: because we have been blessed by God. Every good thing is a gift from God. Every good thing that comes to us, comes to us from the hands of God. We deserve nothing. We are no better and no worse than the garbage dump kids of Mexico, the child prostitutes of Thailand, the beggars of India, the street kids of Chicago or New York. Everything we have, speaks not of us – our intelligence, our work, our faith, our free enterprise system. Everything we have speaks of God. God has blessed us. For some reason that only God knows He has smiled upon us and given us so much. So ours, from the hands of God, is a wondrous prosperity.
II For His Glory's Sake
A God has blessed us. Why? God has granted us riches and prosperity. Why? God has given us so much. Why? Listen again to our psalmist:
(Ps 67:1) May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us ...
(Why? Verse 2 tells us why:)
that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
(7) God will bless us ...
(What's the result? The psalmist tells us:)
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.
God has blessed us. He has blessed us with so much. There is one reason and only one reason for this: so that His name be honored and praised among the nations!
B What is the greatest moment of your life? The very young might say, "My birthday." Or, "When I get to open my Christmas presents." Or, "When we go on vacation to visit grandma and grandpa." Those who are older might point to the time they scored the winning goal, or got the winning touchdown, or spiked the ball into the other court, or got their driver's license. Teachers might point to the day they graduated from college, or their wedding day, or to their birth of their children.
The psalmist tells us that the greatest moments of our life are those when we thank and praise God. The greatest moments are when these walls and ceilings can't hold our singing and our praising.
God has blessed us. Now He wants a life of praise. In this season of Thanksgiving that's what God wants from you. That's what He wants from me.
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