Sermon Text: Psalm 90
Pastor Daniel Schmidt
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
You turn mortals back to dust…You sweep them away in the sleep of death.
The length of our days is seventy years-or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
At the beginning of his sermon last Sunday, Pastor Bigelow asked: “Where do you like to sing?” One of the places that he mentioned was in the car. Now image that you are in your car, with the radio turned up as loud as it will go, and you are singing your heart out to one of your favorite Christmas songs. Suddenly you see it: the flashing lights of the police car. You look down and realize that, while you were so caught up in your singing, you didn’t notice that you were speeding. So, you pull the car over. When the police officer comes up to the window, does he hear you still singing?
Let’s say that you want to try and fight the ticket, even though it is obvious that you are guilty. Would you come into the court room with your ear buds in, singing at the top of your lungs? As you come before the judge (who has every right to bring down the full hammer of the law against you), would you stand there in front of him singing away?
In the calendar of the Christian Church, today is known as “Last Judgment Sunday.” Today we remember that a day is coming when each and every human being who has ever lived, when you and I, will have to stand before The Judge. Knowing what you are like by nature, knowing how you have acted, or how you have talked or the thoughts that you have had and knowing who he is, will you feel like singing before The Judge of all mankind?
After all, Psalm 90, which we sang a few minutes ago, reminds you and me that this Judge is far greater than any human judge. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” The one who will judge you and me is the ETERNAL God – he has no beginning and no end. He is the ALMIGHTY God – he is the creator of all things. And the Bible teaches us that he is the HOLY God, who says that all those who want to be judged worthy of living with him forever in heaven must be holy as well.
But what does Psalm 90 tells us about you and me? “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” You and I have failed to measure up to the Lord’s standard of perfection, of being holy. The all-knowing Judge sees clearly all your sins and mine, including those sins that you and I commit in secret, behind closed doors; or hold in the secret place of our hearts.
And God’s Word makes it clear that “the wages of sin is death.” Or, as we read in Psalm 90, “You turn mortals back to dust…You sweep them away in the sleep of death.” Not only does sin bring death, but because of sin, “the length of our days is seventy years-or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow.” Not only does sin bring trouble and sadness during our lifetimes up to the time of our death, but because of sin, you and I deserve to hear The Judge’s verdict: “Guilty as charged!” and sentence you and me to an unending life sentence in the prison of hell!
So how is it possible for you and me to feel like singing when we know just how guilty we are and what your sins and what my sins deserve? Because your Judge and mine is not only holy and just, but he is also gracious and merciful. Our loving Lord has given you and me a time of grace. As we read in Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” What wisdom? Again from Psalm 90, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love…” It is the Gospel message, found in God’s Word, that makes you and me wise for salvation. It is the Gospel that proclaims the unfailing love of our Savior-God; the Good News that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
It is Jesus, who was willing to take your sins and mine upon himself. It is Jesus who became guilty in your place and mine. It is Jesus who gave up his body and shed his blood to pay in full the price demanded for you sins and mine. It is Jesus who, in exchange for our sins, gave you and me his holiness as a free gift. It is Jesus, who will be The Judge on the great Last Day, and declare you and me: “Not Guilty!”; not because of anything you or I have done, but because of his holy, precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. What is your response and mine to this wonderful Good News? We read, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
Because Jesus is your Savior and mine, with joy and gladness in our hearts, you and I are “Singing the Psalms through the End of Times.” Because our only Savior is also the one seated on the judge’s throne, you and I are able to “Sing to the Judge of All Mankind.” Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. In every age, O Lord, you been our refuge. Amen.