Sunday School Material 8-5-12: Praise for God's Justice

(Psalms 146:1-10)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God is to be praised as the One who upholds the oppressed and frustrates the wicked. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to praise God and join Him in upholding the oppressed and frustrating the wicked.

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Read Psalms 146:1-2

I. Call to Praise. In this section of the Sunday School material the author urges his soul to praise the Lord. He commits to praising the Lord all of his life. Singing is a major method of praise for the author.

Applications –

- Praising the Lord. Notice in vss. 1-2 both the urging to and example of praise. The author calls on his reader to praise the Lord, and he is an example of praise. Every believer should be known for praising the Lord.

We should praise the Lord because He is worthy, because He told us to, because it makes us feel better, and because it helps others to feel better. We should urge one another to praise the Lord. Since singing is a part of praise, this rules out rebellious self-centered silence.

Every believer should bring some enthusiastic vocal praise to the corporate worship experience. Let’s work on praising the Lord in ways that please God and helps His people.

Read Psalms 146:3-5

II. Trust in Whom? The author warns against putting one’s hope in mortal men in this section of the Sunday School material. All mortals are temporary. Blessed are those who put their hope in God.

Applications –

- Levels of trust. Notice in vss. 3-4 of the Sunday School material that we should not put our ultimate trust in mortal temporary people. Every human being is subject to fall short of what he/she commits to doing. This is surely the case, when the person was not really committed from the beginning.

But on the other hand, if we walk around with no trust of human beings, we are in for a very miserable and paranoid life. A reasonable amount of trust should exist between spouses, among employees and employers, and those who are in covenant/contract/agree with one another.

The difference between ultimate trust and reasonable trust is that we are not devastated when people break the reasonable trust that we had in them, but we sleep every night with ultimate trust in God who watches over us and works things out for our good.

Let’s work on keeping our ultimate trust in God, while negotiating a reasonable amount of trust in people. We should remember trust is earned by developing a track record of doing what we said we would do. And it is destroyed by developing a track record of not doing what we said we would do.

- God of our experience and God of the world. Notice in vs. 5 of the Sunday School material that there are blessings -

happiness, and good fortune - for those who put their hope in the help provided by God, who is the same Lord and God of Jacob.

First, we can count on God to help His people. God is working all things out for the good of those who belong to Him. This should be the strong hold of our hope. Second, God is God of this whole world and God of our individual experiences.

As the God of Jacob, the Lord (i.e., Jehovah), was the God of the world (i.e., Eliohim), the God who brought us through African American slavery, or through being mistreated as an immigrants, or who took care of us our fore parents as they were massacred by European expansion (i.e., Native Americans) is also the God of the universe.

Consequently, even though we should appreciate what He has done for us personally, we should also realize that He is bigger than our personal experience. This should cause us to praise Him more and argue with our sisters and brothers less. Let’s work on having our hope in the God who is personal to us and much bigger than us.

Read Psalms 146:6-10

III. Attributes of God and Reminder to Praise. In this section of the Sunday School material it discussed that God is the creator and is faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed. He also frustrates the ways of the wicked. Praising the Lord is encouraged again.

Applications –

- The faithful creator. Notice in vs. 6 of the Sunday School material that God is worthy of our praise because He is the creator, and He is faithful. First, it is true that God created all that has been created. Think about the majestic Allegany and Rocky Mountains compared to the awe inspiring Grand Canyon and Pacific Ocean.

But we should also remember that since God is the creator then He is still able to create whatever we need to make it through the day. The rules of supply and demand are turned upside down, when you factor in God’s ability to create some more.

Second, the faithfulness of God is incomparable. The most admirable human that we know has some short comings. All human institutions have some flaws in them, by virtue of the fact that they are human institutions.

But thanks be unto God, God is faithful. God is true to His very nature. We can count on God doing what He said He would do. Let’s praise God like believe that He is the creator and is faithful.

- Advocating for the oppressed. Notice in vss. 7-9 of the Sunday School material that God upholds the cause of the oppressed and responds to their needs. If we are not careful, we will be so consumed with achieving self centered goals that we ignore oppression and oppressed people all around us.

We may not actively oppress them ourselves, but there is a certain amount of passive oppression, when we fail to do the good that we are able to do. God blesses us with extra, not for bragging rights and surplus comfort, but so we can be a blessing to those in need.

Let’s strive to be godly, by advocating for the oppressed and being responsive to their needs. Race issues are always near the top of the Pastor’s mind, when these kinds of issues are raised. However, we should also think about all of the talk going on about the human beings who are coming over our borders to try to have a better life.

Whatever the answer is, it must be a humane answer, or else we are in danger of triggering the wrath of God who upholds the cause of the oppressed.

- Frustrating the ways of the wicked. Notice in vs. 9 of the Sunday School material that God frustrates (i.e., makes crooked) the ways of the wicked. We have our hands full, when the devil makes our ways crooked. It is beyond measure when God is the source of crookedness in our lives.

But this is our lot in life, when we live wickedly. Consequently, we should strive to live righteously, instead of wickedly, so God will not frustrate our ways. It is righteous to make sure we are saved and striving to love God and others as you love ourselves.

It is wicked to put God’s commands on the back burner and put our own agenda in front. However, there is some good news found in this verse. The good news is when wicked people seem too big for us to handle, God can and will frustrate their ways.

Let’s live like we believe that God frustrates the ways of the wicked. Such living should be known for living righteously and trusting God to handle wicked people beyond our control.

Conclusion: Let’s work on praising God and joining Him in upholding the oppressed and frustrating the wicked. God has much for those who obey His will.

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