A God Who Hears

LENT 4, WEDNESDAY  March 14, 2018

 

Psalm 28:1-3, 6-9

1  To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

2 Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

3 Do not take me away with the wicked And with the workers of iniquity, Who speak peace to their neighbors, But evil is in their hearts.

6 Blessed be the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!

7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.

8 The LORD is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.

9 Save Your people, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bear them up forever.

 

IN THE NAME OF JESUS.

 

The Psalms teach us how to speak to God.

 

If God did not give us the words to speak, we would be left with our own words, and that wouldn’t do.

 

If we are praying to God only with our own words, then our own words are telling God what it is that we will have from him. And to have a god who gives to you that which you yourself determine you need is to have a god defined by your own wants and desires.

 

When you have a god who is determined by your own wants and desires, Scripture call that idolatry.

 

So that we don=t get ensnared in this idolatry by forming up a god to fit our own expectations and feelings, the true God teaches us how to pray to him. He teaches us by actually giving us the words to pray. This is the PsalmsCand of course, other places in Scripture where the Lord gives us the words of prayer, such as the Lord=s prayer.

 

This is why in the Catechism we teach our children prayers including, of course, the Lord=s prayer. We don=t want our children to be caught up into idolatry, and we know that they will certainly learn false ways of speaking about god and also idolatrous prayers in our world.

 

So that we don=t practice idolatry the true God teaches us how to

pray. In learning these words of prayer we are learning Who our God is, we are learning who we are before him as he declares us righteous, and we are learning the gifts he gives to us both now, through faith, and in eternity when we are with our Lord in the flesh.

 

This does not mean, of course, that our prayers must be the exact words of the Psalms or of some other verse of Scripture. It doesn’t mean our prayers are simply to be memorized and recited by ritual, as if we are nothing but flesh and blood tape recorders.

 

But it does mean that we learn how to pray from our Lord. He teaches us Who he is, he teaches us who we and our children are before him, he teaches us what we are to pray for from him, so that our prayers are formed by what we have learned from our gracious God. So he gives us this prayer to pray:

To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock:

Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

Blessed be the LORD,

Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!

[Psalm 28:1-2,6]

 

We learn Who our God is as he reveals himself to us. In the Psalm, he reveals himself as our Rock our Fortress, giving himself to us as our defense against every evil, against every enemy to us, including Satan, death, and our own sinfulness.

 

And he is the God who desires to hear our plea for his preservation of our eternal lives. Why else would he give us these words to pray,AHear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You,@ except that he does want to hear our voices?

 

A supplication is a plea for mercy, a petition for grace. That=s what he wants to hear from our mouths. Hearing this plea for mercy and this petition for grace he will not turn away. The Lord wants to hear your supplications, your prayers. And in that we can see the Psalms as the gift that they are from our Lord.

 

Here is how we may understand the Psalms—the Lord will hear no supplication from sinful lips. But he has heard the supplication of His own Son on the cross.

 

The holy blood shed on the cross was presented before the Father as the cleansing of our sins and the intercession for our lives.

 

Because of this, he now hears our supplications. For before him our lips are holyCwe have been sanctified by the holy Blood of His Son. That is His graceCthat He has given His only Son as the sacrifice for our sins.

 

And he delights in nothing more than to hear voices of faith crying out to him for the gifts of his Son:

To You I cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary. Blessed be the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!

[Psalm 28:1-2,6]

 

IN THE NAME OF JESUS. 

Genesis 18:20-33

20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 “I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 “Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26 So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” 27 Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28 “Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” 29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” 30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

 

Mark 10:32-45

32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 “and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 “but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

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