************ Wedding Sermon on Psalm 100:5 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on June 6, 2009
(Ps 100:5) For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Wedding Message for Jay & Sandra Koetsier
Jay & Sandra, I am just thrilled that you have selected Psalm 100:5 as the text for your wedding. What a testimony! What a statement of faith!
The skeptic out there might say, "Of course they say the LORD is good; after all, Sandra will no longer be a widow and Jay will no longer be alone." It is easy to believe God is good when things are going our way, when we are in good health, when we can pay the bills, when life is on an upward curve.
However, I know that both Jay and Sandra say "the LORD is good" not only when things are going well but also when things are not going so well.
Sandra, let me start with you. You lost a husband to cancer. You became a single mom. Yet, you say "the LORD is good."
Jay, milk prices are low, feed prices are high, banks are becoming very stingy with their loans, some of your fellow dairymen have gone bankrupt and others have committed suicide. Yet, you also say "the LORD is good."
Do you hear what I am saying? The LORD is good – whether times are good or bad; in life and in death; in health and in sickness; in riches and poverty; whether I am alone or married!
"The LORD is good." We are on solid Biblical ground when we say this. This is the teaching of at least 11 psalms (25, 34, 69, 85, 100, 106, 107, 118, 135, 136, 145). This is the teaching of the prophets (Jeremiah 33:11; Lamentations 3:25; Nahum 1:7). This is the teaching of Jesus (Mt 19).
Do you know the number one problem people have with God? The number one problem people have with God is believing in His goodness when there are so many people in so much pain. How can we say God is good when we look at the state of our economy, when we look at the unemployment lines, when we look at the families who do not have health insurance, when we look at General Motors? How can we say God is good when we look at Afghanistan and Iraq? How can we say God is good when we look at cancer, heart attack, cystic fibrosis, and strokes?
Yet, we still maintain that "the LORD is good." In spite of all the misery and pain in this world. In spite of all the hurt. In spite of the poverty and loneliness.
The question is, how can I say this? How can Sandra say this? How can her kids say this? How can Jay say this?
"The LORD is good." About that there can be no doubt. The problem lies not in God but in our perception of God. The problem is that we do not always recognize God's goodness. The problem is that tragedy and pain often make us blind to God's goodness.
The wedding form quotes the great love chapter – 1 Corinthians 13. But it misses a key verse – verse 12: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror ..." What we see now is fuzzy, unclear, blurred. Or, as another translation puts it, "For now we see through a glass darkly" (KJV). What we see now is obscure, a riddle, a puzzle. Or, as still one more translation puts it, "We can see and understand only a little about God now" (Living Bible). We don't know and understand everything about God. What we need to accept is that we just don't always see God's goodness. But whether we see it or not, God is still good.
When it comes to God's goodness we want to set the terms. We want to dictate the how, the when, the where, the why, and the who. We want to define God's goodness according to our standards, our wants, our desires. We want to say God is good only if we have health, if milk prices are high, if the kids are well behaved, if there is extra money in the bank, if prayers are answered the way we think they should be. In actual fact, though, it is God Who sets the standards for His goodness.
So, what is the Lord's standard for goodness? Listen to the rest of your wedding text: "his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." God defines goodness according to love and faithfulness.
We see God's love and faithfulness in Jesus. Way back at the beginning of time, God made a promise about the coming of Jesus. And, throughout the ages God kept that promise in spite of the forces of evil and darkness. For instance:
-Satan prompted Cain to kill Abel. Why? To get rid of the Messiah's blood line. But God preserved the seed of the woman when He raised Seth in Abel's place.
-Satan then prompted the descendants of Seth to marry the daughters of men. Why? To stop the promised blood-line. But God raised and protected righteous Noah and his family.
-Two times, Abraham claimed Sarah as his sister rather than his wife. Two times, Sarah was taken by a heathen king. Satan's intention here: to stop the promised blood-line. But God intervened to protect Sarah.
-Abraham had a child, Ishmael, by his wife's handmaid; Ishmael mocked Isaac and made life miserable for him; in Ishmael we see the enmity of Satan to the chosen blood-line. God told Abraham to send Ishmael and Hagar away.
-Remember what Satan did in Egypt? The people of Israel were oppressed and afflicted – the goal was to work them to death as slave labor. The midwives were commanded to kill the Hebrew boys at birth. But God preserved and raised up Moses to lead His people out of Egypt.
-Remember Israel on the way to the Promised Land? Edom, the descendants of Esau, their own family, would not allow them passage. That was Satan at work. He wanted the chosen people to die in the wilderness. He didn't succeed.
-King Saul hated David and tried more than once to kill him. That was Satan at work trying to stop the Messiah's birth – because the Messiah was to be from the lineage of David. But God protected David.
-Haman in Babylon tried to wipe out the Jewish race. That was Satan at work. But God turned the tables on Haman.
-Who can forget wicked King Herod and all the slaughtered baby boys of Bethlehem? But baby Jesus was kept safe from Satan's attack.
Do you see God at work throughout the history of salvation? Again and again, God stopped Satan from snuffing out the seed of the woman. Again and again, God kept Satan from preventing the Messiah's work. Again and again, God stopped Satan. Again and again, God was and is with His people every step of the way. God is so loving and faithful.
"The LORD is good." Jay & Sandra, God is good in this time and this place. But He is also good in your darkest hour. For, there never is a time when God is not loving and faithful. We may not always see it. We may not always understand it. But, God is good.
Jay & Sandra, I say again what I said earlier: I am just thrilled that you have selected Psalm 100:5 as the text for your wedding. What a testimony! What a statement of faith!
As you walk down life's pathway together, you will discover again what you already know: "the LORD is good." And for that, you will always want to thank and praise the LORD.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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