Notes & References

“Coronation Season”

Psalm 95

October 7, 2018

A.  Introduction

      1.  History of This Holiday

      2.  This Thanksgiving Psalm 1

B.  God of All the Earth                                                                              65:1-2

      1.  God of Zion

      2.  God of the Nations 2

C.  Special Grace                                                                                        65:3-5

      1.  Grace of Salvation 3

      2.  Grace of Fellowship 4

D.  Greatness of God                                                                                  65:6-8

      1.  Over the Cosmos

      2.  Over the World

E.   Common Grace                                                                                    65:9-10

      1.  Blessing All Mankind 5

      2.  Overflowing Grace 6

F.   Goodness of God                                                                                65:11-13

      1.  Bounty 7

      2.  A Graphic Picture

G.  Conclusion 8


1 Psalm 95 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “Coronation Season”

 

A. Introduction

    1. Reason for This Holiday

        a. Some years ago, Charles Colson wrote the following 2

… today's kids are being fed a half-baked version of Thanksgiving lore, complete with glazed facts, mashed multiculturalism, and a generous helping of censorship. Several children's books about the Pilgrims are on bookstore shelves. But in a cold November blast of secularism, much of the spiritual component has been blown away.

As a result, our children are consuming a dumbed-down version of Christian history. They're taught that the Pilgrims risked their lives traversing the ocean for economic gain, not religious freedom. And that first Thanksgiving feast? It's described as nothing more than a three-day binge with the Indians.

Take, for example, a book called ’The First Thanksgiving’ by Jean Craighead George. As this book tells it, the Pilgrims left Europe “to seek their fortune in the New World.” That would have come as news to the Pilgrims themselves. Pilgrim leader William Bradford wrote in his diary that the voyage was motivated by “a great hope ... for advancing the kingdom of Christ.”

And when it comes to Thanksgiving itself, in this book the religious dimension finds no place at the table. The author states flat-out, “This was NOT a day of Pilgrim thanksgiving” – thanksgiving to God, that is. Instead, she writes, “This was pure celebration.”

Odd. That's not the way the Pilgrims themselves remembered it. Listen again to the account by William Bradford, who was actually there: “The Lord sent them such seasonable showers,” Bradford writes, that “through His blessing there was a fruitful and liberal harvest. ... For which mercy ... they set apart a day of thanksgiving.”

… These people sailed across dangerous oceans … They built their own housing in freezing weather … Even in the face of death, they nurtured a thankful spirit to God. It's difficult to poke fun at hardy souls like these, men and women of strong character and stronger faith – which may explain why secular historians prefer to pretend they never existed.

        b. We in Canada celebrate this holiday on a different date

            (A)    and its institution in our nation took a different path

                 (1)    Martin Frobisher & his crew began it 1578, Newfoundland, giving thanks for a safe return from seeking the NW passage

                 (2)    then, Champlain’s holding a thanksgiving celebration in 1604

                 (3)    1770's. the United Empire Loyalists coming here after the American Revolution brought US customs with them

            (B)    but what Colson said can and does apply equally for us

                 (1)    the Christian background to this holiday is forgotten

                 (2)    to whom thanksgiving is due – Almighty God – is ignored

                 (3)    it is the last holiday mild enough to get away and enjoy the beauties of nature, relax, discard our duties for a few days

 

    2. This Thanksgiving Psalm

        a. David, had much the same thought as we do at this time of year

        b. one outline of this Psalm is as follows

            (A)    1-2   – Israel’s God Is God of All the Earth

            (B)    3-5   – His Special Grace

            (C)   6-8   – Greatness of God

            (D)   9-10 – His Common Grace

            (E)    11-13    – Goodness of God

        c. which we shall loosely follow

        d. but first note that our message title comes from verse 11,

            (A)    Thou hast crowned the year with Thy bounty …” or “goodness

            (B)    the Jewish calendar really has two new year’s days

                 (1)    at the first Passover, God declared, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2)

                 (2)    it was the start of the religious year

                 (3)    but Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the secular year

                     (a)    it marks the start of the fall harvest

                     (b)    and its meaning is literally, “the head of the year”

                 (4)    so, most fittingly God’s blessings can be spoken of as crowning the head of the year

            (C)   so most fittingly, this is the “Coronation Season”

        e. in this Psalm you may have noticed how it alternates – even more than I have shown in my outline – between the character of God and the effect of that character upon His creation: mankind & nature

 

B. God of All the Earth                                                65:1-2

1 ¶ (For the choir director. A Psalm of David. A Song.) There will be silence before Thee, and praise in Zion, O God; And to Thee the vow will be performed. 2 O Thou who dost hear prayer, To Thee all men come.

 

    1. God of Zion

        a. in speaking of God’s rule over the earth, David comes at it from two points of view

            (A)    the first is this, that in a special way He rules over His own people

            (B)    that is the case whether we speak of the OT or NT people of God

        b. this rule is an openly known and acknowledged rule

            (A)    to His people, God has revealed Himself

            (B)    through Moses, the prophets, and finally in Jesus Christ

            (C)   what defines the true people of God is that they have consciously accepted His rule

        c. this acceptance is shown by their worship

            (A)    they wait – literally, rest in silence – before Him in awe

            (B)    they give to him praise and adoration

            (C)   this is backed up by fulfilling their vows of offerings unto Him

 

    2. God of the Nations

        a. there is a second point of view –those who are seeking this God

        b. Cornelius, the Roman centurion, was such an example: he feared the true God of Israel, and God heard and answered his prayer

        c. and this is the ultimate working of the promise to Abraham, that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3)

 

    3. Let us give thanks to God for who He is

 

C. Special Grace                                                        65:3-5

3 Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, Thou dost forgive them. 4 How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, To dwell in Thy courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, Thy holy temple. 5 By awesome deeds Thou dost answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, Thou who art the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea;

 

    1. Grace of Salvation

        a. David speaks of this grace both

            (A)    for himself – “Iniquities prevail against me

            (B)    for his nation – “as for our transgressions

            (C)   in both cases, “Thou didst forgive them” – literally, “cover them”, a word used to describe the atoning for sins by sacrifice

            (D)   … “the one”, “we will be satisfied”, “answer us …our salvation

        b. the physical salvation of Israel from Egypt pictures God’s special grace – 6 “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the Lord loved you …” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)

            (A)    which David here expands beyond Israel for a coming salvation – “Thou who are the trust” or, “hope of all the ends of the earth

            (B)    recalling God’s purpose in choosing Israel, that in them – that is, in Jesus Christ born among them – all the world should be blessed

            (C)   as described in Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” – the spiritual salvation in Jesus

 

    2. Grace of Fellowship

        a. the forgiveness of sin – by the OT sacrifice which foreshadowed the actual sacrifice of Jesus Christ – brought peace between God & man

            (A)    But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

            (B)    by this means we have “fellowship with the Father” (1 John 1:3)

        b. a fellowship with God, knowing His Presence, help and sustenance in every situation, because He is our God & we are His people

 

    3. Let us give thanks to God for His special grace to us in salvation

 

D. Greatness of God                                                   65:6-8

6 ¶ Who dost establish the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; 7 Who dost still the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. 8 And they who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Thy signs; Thou dost make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.

 

    1. Over the Cosmos

        a. in these verses the mighty works of God are singled out

        b. the mountains ... the seas ... the waves – physical wonders

        c. the regular rejoicing that comes with the dawn and the dusk – the skies lighting up with colour and splendour

 

    2. Over the World

        a. but even though we live in times – as has the church from its very birth – of “Men’s hearts failing them for fear”

        b. yet in these words we find again that God is in control

            (A)    He can calm the “tumult of the peoples

            (B)    and dwellers “in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Thy signs

        c. Harriet Martineau was an 19th century atheist. One morning she and a Christian friend stepped out into the glories of a beautiful fall morning. As Harriet saw the brilliant sun peaking through the haze, and the frost on the meadow, and the brightly coloured leaves making their way lazily to the ground, she was filled with the beauty and burst forth with ‘I am so thankful. I'm just so grateful for it all.’ – Her believing friend asked, ‘Grateful to whom, my dear?’ 3

 

    3. Give thanks that we can sing “How Great Thou Art!” with understanding

 

E. Common Grace                                                     65:9-10

9 Thou dost visit the earth, and cause it to overflow; Thou dost greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; Thou dost prepare their grain, for thus Thou dost prepare the earth. 10 Thou dost water its furrows abundantly; Thou dost settle its ridges; Thou dost soften it with showers; Thou dost bless its growth.

 

    1. Blessing All Mankind

        a. Jesus in the mountain sermon, instructed us to love our enemies, and do so, “in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)

            (A)    God loves mankind; that is why He sent His Son; He is not willing that any should perish, but rather come to repentance.

            (B)    to woo, as it were, mankind to Himself, he showers blessings, not on His own people alone, but upon all mankind

            (C)   think of the many pleasures you see non-Christians enjoying

        b. this is God’s advertising campaign, as it were, for the gospel

 

    2. Overflowing Grace

        a. in these verses we see that God doesn’t do things in a miserly fashion but rather to “overflow ... greatly enrich ...(be) full ... abundantly”

        b. here it is reminiscent of

            (A)    how God rewards: “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap” (Luke 6:38)

            (B)    how God treats us: “exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,” (Ephesians 3:20)

        c. and like His salvation, this common grace is revealed to all mankind

 

    3. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.” (1 Chronicles 16:8)

 

F. Goodness of God                                                  65:11-13

11 Thou hast crowned the year with Thy bounty, And Thy paths drip with fatness. 12 The pastures of the wilderness drip, And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing. 13 The meadows are clothed with flocks, And the valleys are covered with grain; They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

 

    1. Bounty

        a. the word could be just translated “with Thy good”, but the context – what precedes, what follows – demands a stronger word: bounty

        b. here, at harvest time, we can see around us all the splendour of the good things that God gives

        c. He has carried out His covenantal promise to Noah: “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

        d. how those pilgrims rejoiced that fall when there was sufficient rain and a bountiful harvest came to sustain them through the winter

        e. so David describes the lands that produced all these good things as singing and shouting with joy; this is …

 

    2. A Graphic Picture

        a. water in a dry & thirsty land is the ultimate picture of God’s goodness

        b. the land drips with the needed water; the result is the land drips with fatness – the resulting plenteousness of grain and so on

        c. while the flocks clothe the hills – supplying all our other needs

 

    3. O give thanks to God for He is good.

 

G. Conclusion

    1. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2017 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

        AV        Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

        NAS      New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

        NIV       New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

        NLT       New Living Translation © 1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust

        NKJV     New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

        NRSV         New Revised Standard Version © 1989 National Council of Churches of Christ

        RSV      Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd


Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


        BM      Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

        EBC    The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

        Calvin    Calvin’s Commentaries

        Gill      Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

        JFB     Jamieson, Fausset & Brown

        K&D    Commentary on the Old Testament – Keil & Delitzsch – Eerdman’s, 1959

        Kerux –  The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

2

‘Dead Pilgrims Society: Putting the Thanks Back Into Thanksgiving’, by Charles Colson, Breakpoint Commentary – Kerux illustration #26174

3

Thankful to Whom?www.sermoncentral.com – Kerux illustration #28667