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Summer in the Psalms - Psalm 99

When I Need to Feel and See God's Love for Me by Luke Helms

Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.

It's summer and that means:


Yes, bring on the longer days and lots of sunshine!

Every time I hear the word "sunshine," I think of one of two things: 1) The man I encountered once along Denver's 16th Street Mall. His image mirrored that of a tired Santa Clause and his voice beckoned loudly, too. He'd yell out "Oooweee! Sunshine alert!" every time myself or one of my volleyball teammates walked by. 2) The scene from Remember the Titans when they meet their new teammate and quickly nickname him "Sunshine...Sunshiiiiine!" But now, thanks to my friend, Luke Helms, I have a third and even more powerful image when I think of the sun.

Luke lives in Oklahoma City, where he has found a tremendous family in Christ to help sustain him at Crossings Community Church. He has an insatiable desire to learn and help others understand how our earthly sufferings are justified in light of an eternity with Christ. Luke enjoys cooking, traveling (to nineteen countries and twenty-four states so far), and watching the NBA Thunder. He serves as an associate attorney at a local law firm and serves on the Board of Directors of Willow Pregnancy Support.

We often take our sun (yes, sun; not Son) for granted. We stroll in its sunlight lamenting its searing heat, ostensibly ignoring the fact that we would instantaneously freeze to death without its presence. Perhaps more ignorant we are of its sheer size. I’ve traveled all over the world and I’ve been on twelve-to-thirteen hour flights that only encompassed half of it. Yet, it would take me months or years to traverse the sun. More than a million earths could fit inside of it. This is outstandingly large, but still within our comprehension. Not so comprehensible are sizes found beyond our solar system. As of early this year, the largest known star in the universe is UY Scuti. How many suns could fit into UY Scuti? More than 5 billion. I dare not exercise an attempt at calculating how many earths that is, but it's beyond trillions and into numbers we must put in strange equations and symbols to reduce to our understanding.[1]

Yet, UY Scuti is a fingerprint of God, a mere sigh of His breath. Indeed, Psalm 99 captures only mere glimpses into God’s grandeur. In verse 2, “the earth shake[s]” at His presence. In verse 3, His “name” alone merits praise for its holiness. In verse 7, He commanded a nation from the host of a “pillar of cloud.” Elsewhere in Scripture, God’s magnitude is highlighted in mere mortal’s limited understanding: (1) “Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28); (2) “At [H]is wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure [H]is indignation” (Jeremiah 10:10); (3) “He determines the number of the stars; [H]e gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4-5); and (4) “punish[es] Leviathan the fleeing serpent . . . and [slays] the dragon that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1).

Absent God’s divine breath into our spirits, such power and perfection would be entirely inaccessible. We would collapse in His presence and glory, never to be picked up from our trance of imperfection amidst such splendor. But God is not merely a God of power and holiness; He is a God of love and mercy that rival His grandeur. To Israel, just as to us, God was “forgiving” (verse 8). He has done “what is just and right” (verse 4). Indeed, just as He answered Moses, Aaron, and Samuel (verse 6), He answers us. So great is He that He concerns Himself with our being, desiring relationship with the pinnacle of His creation, declared “very good” (Genesis 1).

One of my favorite quotes in recent memory is from Luke Walker, a pastor at Redeeming Cross Community Church in Minneapolis. He says: “The Sun will burn your eyes out from a distance of 92 million miles and do you expect to casually stroll into the presence of its maker?” No, we most certainly cannot so casually stroll into the presence of our Maker. Yet . . . God can and does. Casting off His crown and releasing His eternity, Christ came to us as a carpenter, born to a poor virgin. He died a sinner’s death and lived a menial life of no earthly glory. Yet, while Golgotha darkened and Christ breathed His last, the veil was torn and Heaven roared, knowing that He would conquer death and we would be able to walk into His presence and “worship at [H]is holy mountain” with heads held high, redeemed by the splendor of an eternal King whose might is outdone only by a love shining brighter than our sun.

[1] Louie Giglio has a phenomenal sermon on this exact idea, where he compares the earth to a golf ball and analyzes how many “golf ball” earths could fit inside the sun and so forth. The video is available on Youtube or comparable video sharing sites.

Now, It's Your Turn!

Before opening God's Word, take a moment to pray and ask God to meet you there. Then...

Read Psalm 99 a couple times. Highlight what stands out to you.

Circle verbs or specific wording you notice.

Then, write down a bullet point takeaway based on this. "I-statements" help make this personal. Think of this as a challenge statement.

  • I can see my Creator through His creation. When I need to feel and see God's love for me, I will look at His creation. The sun is a small glimpse of His unfathomable magnitude, His great power and radiance.

Then, jot down a question or two to think about today. You don't have to have the answer to this question now. And yield to the Holy Spirit - prayerfully ask God to search your heart and lead you to more truth and grow your faith through the Holy Spirit.

  • How can I rest in the truth that the same God who breathed the stars and all of creation into being has placed His divine breath in my spirit? How does this change how I think about the circumstances of my day? How does this change how I view the people in my path today who also have the breath of God inside of them?

Again, we don't have to be Bible scholars and talk only in the thou's and art's of King James version to read this book. ...because when we pray before we read, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding and teaching us.

Praise God for this!

And praise God for refreshment as we are intentional to spend a summer in the Psalms together, for if we want His truth to ever be on our lips, it must first be planted in our hearts.

Our strength grows as we rely on strength from above. Our joy grows as we see God transforming us from the inside out. Our peace grows as we spend time in God's presence, and we find rest when we intentionally seek the Lord first in our lives, for the Lord is ever our portion.

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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