This sermon series was preached by Jeff Miller at Trinity Bible Church in 2012. Click on an individual sermon for an abstract of the message and a playable/downloadable audio file.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part one)
A variety of foods are available for us to eat. Food offers our bodies energy and power through nourishment. Were it not for food, or the right kinds of foods, our bodies would quickly become unhealthy and begin to atrophy. Our souls, too, require nourishment to stay healthy. A variety of options are available with which to feed our souls. Without proper nourishment our souls quickly become unhealthy and begin to atrophy. Psalm one supplies a menu of options to choose from, and the results for each of them. What are you feeding your soul?
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part two)
Psalm two is a royal Psalm celebrating the enthronement of Israel’s king. The author (many believe it is David) describes rebellious nations who deplore Yahweh and His anointed king. God responds by reminding them with words and deeds that He will be sovereign even over people who reject Him, and He will rule over the earth through His chosen king. The Psalm ends with an invitation to surrender voluntarily to God’s supremacy. For Christians today, we strive to submit voluntarily to the rule of God over our lives while we joyfully anticipate submitting to the rule of Christ over His Kingdom.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part three)
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! It is right that we marvel at God’s majesty displayed all around us. His grandeur and size are awe-inspiring, matched only by His attention to the finest detail. And it is right to celebrate us, mankind, as God’s crowning creation. We are uniquely created in His image and after His likeness. Not only can we alone appreciate God’s creation, but we alone have the ability and privilege to rule over and subdue it. Such ability in God’s design again reflects His creative capacity. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part four)
Hope is not just wishful thinking. When our souls hope, we are leaning on the certain track record of our victorious God. Because God is on our side, we can experience daily hope even when life’s circumstances are ominous. And because God is on our side, we can enjoy hope for our future security in His eternal presence. God’s victory is best demonstrated in Jesus’ resurrection. When God became a man, two opposing forces were set on a collision course: God, who is unable to die, and death, which is unavoidable. The hours and days ticked away until finally, bloody and beaten, God in the flesh took His last breath on the cross. Death won the battle between these two opposing forces. God seemed to lose, especially after predicting that His Holy One would not be abandoned to Sheol nor undergo decay. But then came Sunday. Jesus rose victorious from the dead, now with an imperishable, immortal body. Death may have won the battle on Friday, but God won the war on Sunday. The cornerstone of our hope was set. Death was swallowed up in victory. Where, oh death, is your victory? Where, oh death, is your sting?
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part five)
The fingerprints of God surround us, displayed on His glorious creation. We cannot avoid its message to us, informing us by design about His greatness and attention to detail. And God didn’t stop His self-revelation with creation, He also provided more specific awareness of His character, power, and plans by His Word. We delight in God’s law and we cherish it above other worldly possessions. God speaks to us in His Word, and we take heed to His warnings. We long for God’s revelation to result in our transformation for His glory.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part six)
We all have enemies, whether we know their names or not. Traditionally Christians have identified three enemies to our souls: The Devil, the world, and the flesh. Right when we’re inclined to focus on our enemies, God draws our focus back to Him. When we tend to internalize our fears, God delights in hearing them verbalized to Him. When we’re tempted to doubt God’s goodness, God welcomes our response of faith. Perhaps the hardest thing God asks His suffering children to do is to wait for Him.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part seven)
Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved and familiar chapters in the Bible. In it, David describes God as his Shepherd who tenderly cares for him. David understood what it meant to be a shepherd. Not only had he once been a literal shepherd with sheep, but ancient kings often viewed themselves as shepherds over their people. Being a sheep under the direction of a loving Shepherd-God meant a carefree life under the watch care of a careful Master. The metaphor captures the intimate side of our relationship with God, who lovingly protects and provides for His trusting followers.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part eight)
It has been said that confession is good for the soul. But it is not merely therapeutic; it is God’s prerequisite for forgiveness. In Psalm 32, David demonstrates a clear understanding of man as sinful and in need of forgiveness. He also shows remarkable insight into a holy God who delights in forgiving. The bridge David describes between our sin and God’s forgiveness is known as confession. We experience the crushing force of conviction when we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge our rebellion to God. But when we confess our sins to Him we experience the joy of forgiveness and restoration that follows.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part nine)
God rescues, saves, and delivers His people in a number of different ways. Certainly from the New Testament we rightly associate “saving” with eternal salvation. But in the Old Testament, God’s salvation usually means deliverance from temporal circumstances. David understood these truths well, have enjoyed God’s deliverance more than once. From what do you need God to deliver you? We learn from Psalm 34 the principle that God rescues His saints in response to our righteousness and trust, which David outlines in simple terms for our instruction.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part ten)
The presence of our God provides comfort, stability, peace, protection, and a host of other realities. For believers living during the time of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, the city and that marvelous House of God served as God’s special dwelling place. After all, God chose for His name to dwell in Jerusalem. One day He will reign again from Jerusalem, and the people of the world will travel to marvel at His splendor there. Until then, Christians understand that the presence of God today is not specially confined to a city or a temple like it once was. God’s presence—and with it His comfort, stability, peace, and protection—can be found wherever the believer goes, and especially wherever believers gather together. God is still our shelter.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part eleven)
Have you ever blown it spiritually? We can thank God that He not only supplies the mercy, but He also endows us with the equipment we need for a full restoration. Psalm 51 is one of seven penitential psalms. David threw himself on the mercy of God after committing adultery and murder. That’s right: King David messed up “royally.” His two-fold repentance provides a model that we should follow when we choose sin over holiness. First, he repented of his egregious sins (and his sinfulness). Next, he repented of any remaining self-sufficiency that might incline him to rely on himself to please God.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part twelve)
David learned how to find nourishment for his soul even when nourishment for his body was unavailable. When he found himself in the desert running for his life, his thoughts turned to God. His parched lips praised his God and his shrinking stomach found satisfaction in Him. When he remembered that his enemies were pursuing him, his soul began pursuing God who became his refuge and deliverer. David’s physical needs reminded him that God had already satisfied his spiritual needs. Do you mistake mere earthly provision for the soul nourishment that only God can supply?
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part thirteen)
Psalm 72 is one of only two psalms written by Solomon. In it, he prays that he and his royal descendents would rule over Israel with righteousness and compassion. These traits please God, and citizens are inclined to imitate such a king. If Israel practiced such righteousness, God promised to bless her with prosperity and global fame. This would make kings and citizens of other countries aware of Israel’s God and Israel’s ways. They, too, would begin imitating Israel’s just king, and the name of the Lord would be lifted up. These qualities are still worth imitating today while we await our returning King who will rule with absolute righteousness.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part fourteen)
Moses wrote Psalm 90, the oldest psalm in the book. This prayer records Moses’ description of our everlasting God and people’s frailty in comparison. He also claims that God responds to our sinfulness with anger and wrath, causing us to melt in fear. Both our transitory life and our response to God’s anger highlight our mortality. Our lives are ephemeral and frail. Yet Moses reminds us of these realities so that he might motivate holy conduct toward God. Those who properly measure their days while seeking God’s pleasure will prove faithful to Him. “Living for Jesus through earth’s little while, my dearest treasure the light of His smile.”
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part fifteen)
The author of Psalm 91 seemed to draw from personal experience when he described the reality of daily dangers. But more importantly, he knew the God who offered him protection and safety from life’s threats. His God was “Most High” and “Almighty,” with the tenderness of a bird mothering her young combined with the strength of a military fortress that keeps the enemies out. His God’s protection was just as impenetrable at night as it was in the light of day. And when his God chose to permit trouble in his life, He comforted the psalmist with His very presence by remaining with him. Does this sound like your God?
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part sixteen)
The letter to the Hebrews depicts Jesus as our just Priest whose sufficient self-sacrifice satisfied God’s wrath and took away our sins. Jesus’ priesthood from the order of Melchizedek is more perfect than Aaron’s because it preceded it and will outlast it. The Book of Revelation depicts Jesus as our righteous Judge returning to carry out judgment on His enemies, making them a footstool for His feet. His subjugation of the godless and subsequent world conquest will usher in the victorious reign of the Prince of peace. Of course, you could get nearly all of this from Psalm 110.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part seventeen)
Psalm 118 celebrates God’s great love for His people. He manifests His love in our lives through His comfort, His provision, His protection, His encouragement, His blessings. For Christians, God’s love for us was demonstrated most clearly when He sent His only Son to visit humanity and die for our sins. Certainly Job was right: The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. This psalm reminds us of all that God has given, and invites us to approach the Lord with thankful hearts.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part eighteen)
Psalm 122 is a call to worship and a prayer for peace. This psalm of ascent was traditionally recited by the Israelites upon their pilgrimage to Jerusalem during their required feasts. Whereas Psalm 48 emphasized Jerusalem as a secure fortress, Psalm 122 features Jerusalem as a worship center for God’s people. There the Israelites gathered together as a worshiping community to exalt their God and give thanks. Do you worship God with your soul in the context of community?
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part nineteen)
God supervises His children with loving custody. Nothing we think, say, or do is unknown to our soul’s Keeper. He exercises supernatural soul supervision so that He’s constantly aware of our condition and whereabouts. Such intimate knowledge of our lives might cause us concern at first. But when we remember that our loving God has our best interests in mind, His absolute awareness concerning our innermost secrets can be a source of great comfort.
Psalms: Nourishment for the Soul (part twenty)
The Book of Psalms sprints to the finish line with full-throated praise of God, particularly in its final six psalms. Psalm 145 bears the unique, descriptive title of “a Psalm of praise.” God receives praise for His abundant goodness and stunning works. In turn, God’s works then return praise to Him. God demonstrates His faithful compassion by meeting people’s needs, and His people will boast about God’s greatness to successive generations. “I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.”