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Kind Words Mean Heart - Psalm 62 Sermon January Prayer Service

Kind Words Mean Heart - Psalm 62 Sermon January Prayer Service

Prayer Service January 4th Season of Christmas - 2017. Pr. Ted Giese, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Regina SK. Psalm 62 - Kind Words Mean Heart

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from Him comes my salvation.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation,
my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from Him.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation,
my Fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty Rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.

Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to You, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For You will render to a man
according to his work.

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.

Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Psalm 62 deals with a painful thing, the envy of others, envy that turns into scheming and plotting, betrayal, slander, and a hurt reputation and all the dangers that lurk in such words and actions. The sort of thing that happens in the shadow of a man, behind a woman's back. Where to a person's face they're "praised" but the same mouth that praises them "inwardly curses" that same person.

King David, the writer of Psalm 62, asks of such people, "How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?" David is the man. Of these people David says, "They only plan to thrust him down from his high position." David is the man. David says that these people, "take pleasure in falsehood." Unchecked this kind of envy, and covetousness, this sort of hypocritical two-faced backstabbing can lead to character assassination, and great harm. Taken to the Nth degree it could threaten a person's livelihood, their safety, and even their life.

As we have seen over and over again the Psalms are not simply about David. Yes, David is the man but the Psalms also point ahead to Jesus. Jesus too - Jesus ultimately - is the man. He is the man who others want to thrust down, the man who is abused by others because of His High Position, because as the Son of God Jesus holds the Highest Position: He is, and was, and ever shall be, from eternity to eternity, the second person of the Holy Trinity, "He is perfect God and perfect man," "one Christ!"[1] There is no Higher Position. For Jesus the folks who felt this way about Him, who cursed Him in their hearts, didn't wait for Him to grow up before they hated Him, in fact in the Gospel of Saint Matthew we hear how Jesus was hardly two years old when He faced this same sort of danger. Wise men, Magi from the east, had come seeking the young child and as they stood before Herod the Great, the King of Israel, they asked “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.” Herod, "[assembled] all the chief priests and scribes of the people, [and he asked] them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea," [so] he sent [the Magi] to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.”[2]

Herod spoke in flattering terms of this young Child, but in his heart Herod was cursing Him. His desires were not like the desires of the Magi. In truth Herod was not planning to come and adore this Christ Child as the Magi were planning to do: No, Herod's plan was to find the Child and send soldiers to murder Him. Herod couldn't let Jesus have the High Position of Messiah, of King, no Herod wanted to thrust Jesus down from that position into the dust, to thrust Him down into death. We know this because when these wise men, these Magi, didn't return to tell Herod where the Christ Child could be found Herod, "became furious, and he sent [men to Bethlehem] and [had] killed, [had murdered], all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under."[3] Yes, with his lips, with his mouth Herod praised Jesus saying that he wanted to "come and worship Him," that he wanted to come and worship the Christ Child, but inwardly Herod cursed Jesus to death. Herod's evil desires spilled over onto all the unfortunate boys of Bethlehem who simply were around Jesus' same age. Such is the danger, such is the sin of envy which brings forth the giving of false testimony with your mouth and as well as cursing and hatred in your heart. Do not be kind with your words and mean in your heart. To do so is false. Perhaps all of this makes you think of the last Commandments in the Ten Commandments, the Commandments prohibiting lying and coveting?

The Eighth Commandment, in the Small Catechism, says: "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour." There are a number of ways that testimony might be false, we heard from Matthew's Gospel about King Herod the Great and Jesus. From that account we can quickly see how dangerous false words can be, especially when they mask wickedness in the heart. What else can we learn from the Eighth Commandment? The Small Catechism says, "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbour, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way." So then, if you speak one way to someone to their face, if you speak one way about them to others, but then lie to yourself, cursing them in your heart; if you lie about them behind their backs to others, or speak poorly of them to others in an unkind way, then you are a sinner. That is sin. You and king Herod are in the same boat. "I've never sent anyone to harm or murder another person. I am no murderer," you protest! And Jesus says back to you, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire."[4] Mark your words, mark your thoughts, mark carefully what is in your heart. This is why it's called character assassination. Jesus warns us to keep from murdering our neighbour with our words. Saint James likewise says, "the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell."[5] Therefore you and I and all of us must be careful to guard our words of our mouths, and our thoughts, as well as our deeds.

Think carefully have your desired to thrust someone down from their position and take from them what is theirs? Have you said words to aid in this desire? Saint James also says that, "each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."[6]

Inner desires can grow into bad things. Consider this passage from the book of Genesis. "Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”"[7] 

And what happened next? Cain's envy, which was in his heart against his brother, his bitter feelings, his envy of his brothers growing reputation in the eyes of God, grew like a weed, it burnt like a fire. That sin that crouched at the door of Cain's heart, became an evil desire and it brought forth harm, it brought forth death. King David in Psalm 62 expresses a struggles that has been with us from the beginning, his words lay bare just how truly challenging it is to be happy for someone else, how exceedingly hard it is to be content with what we have.

We are warned against coveting and forbidden from it in the Ten Commandments: We are told not to covet what isn't ours, and then the Small Catechism asks, ""What does this mean?" We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbour’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it."

Think again to Herod and Jesus. As the Messiah Jesus was king of Israel, as the promised son of David the crown was His. Herod for his part then was to help Jesus to keep Jesus' inheritance, to serve Jesus in keeping it. To speak well of Jesus, and to defend Him, and His reputation. Just as the people around David were supposed to do for him, just as the people around you are supposed to do for you, just as you are to do for others. We are not called upon to attack a person, to batter them down, pushing them like a leaning wall, a tottering fence to make them fall.

Let's say you are the one who is being batted and beaten down, let's say you are the one who has people speak kindly to your face but then inwardly they hate and curse you. Let's say they want to see you, "put in your place," and conveniently they also get to decide what that place is. If this is you. Be encouraged. You are not alone. David shares your experience. But while David is the man of Psalm 62, Remember what I said earlier: Jesus ultimately is the man of Psalm 62. And Psalm 62 is a Psalm of trust in the face of adversity. David says it, prays it, but in the end Jesus lives it perfectly, faultlessly, for you for David for me. Psalm 62 says, "For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; My mighty Rock, my refuge is God." The last thing Jesus says as He dies upon the cross, as the desires of wicked men come to pass, as their words take shape, as their actions against Jesus finally thrust Jesus down into death are these simple words of trust, a prayer that reflects what Psalm 62 says, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!”[8] And having said this [Jesus] breathed His last." In Psalm 62 David moves from saying, "I shall not be greatly shaken," to, "I shall not be shaken," this is the resolve of Christ Jesus toward His Father, and this now can be your resolve toward Jesus in your times of trouble. In His death and resurrection from the dead Jesus becomes for you your only Rock, and Salvation, and Fortress against the thoughts, words and deeds of others.

Lastly because we sin against each other,[9] because it was our sins that nailed Christ Jesus to the cross from Adam and Eve, to Cain, to David, to Herod to the sins we commit today,[10] and because our sins and their sins were nailed there with Jesus, by Jesus, to die there with Him,[11] consider these words from Psalm 62, "Trust in Him [in God] at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Pour out your heart, pour out all the evil desires that you have there, repent of the evil in your heart, ask forgiveness for the words you've said that were lies, that in the end hurt others to their face and injured them behind their back. Week in and week out take refuge in God and pour out your heart before the Lord trusting Him. For He hands to you the cup of blessing into which He poured out His heart, filling it with the precious sinless, faultless blood that He shed upon the cross for you. As David in Psalm 62 says, "Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to You, O Lord, belongs steadfast love." It is His steadfast love for you that will see you through the day weather you are being harmed or you are the one doing the harm. In both cases the Christ Child is for you, Saint Peter teaches that, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."[12] In Christ Jesus He never stops filling that cup, He never stops pouring out his heart for you, He never stops pouring out his heart for those who are against you, His heart is poured out for all people. And if in the end repentance does not come for a person? What does Psalm 62 say? It says justice will come, justice will come for "[The Lord] will render to a man according to his work." For those who are in Christ they lean on the fact that His work is now theirs. Jesus' work is now yours: And it will be rendered to you what is deserving of the work that Christ did on your behalf. If someone doesn't want that work for themselves, if they deny it ... Amen.

Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.


[1] Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House, Athanasian Creed verse 30 & 35, pg 320.
[2] Matthew 2:2-5,8
[3] Matthew 2:16
[4] Matthew 5:21-22
[5] James 3:5-6
[6] James 1:14-15
[7] Genesis 4:1-7
[8] Luke 23:46
[9] Matthew 18:15-18
[10] Romans 4:25
[11] Colossians 2:14
[12] 2 Peter 3:9