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Yes He Can

May 6, 2018, More from this speaker 更多关于此讲员: Keng Wan Ling (Psalm 89:19-37) For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: Psalms
Preached at a Bilingual (Mandarin-English, Sunday) service

Tags: Maskil

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About Keng Wan Ling: Deacon Keng was theologically trained in TTC, and currently serves as the worship ministry chairperson.
Bible passage (ESV) of the sermon can be found at the bottom of the page.

Title: Yes He Can
Date:6 May 2018
Preacher: Dn Keng Wan Ling

Last week at AGM, there were questions asked about the church budget. One item shown was the comparison of the last year’s and this year’s budget, which, for most parts, looked roughly the same. My ministry chairperson leant over to me and said, “Actually it’s quite sad. This shows we’re in maintenance mode. If we were expanding, it should show an increase.” That was a generalization, but it made me think. Is that really true?
Brothers and sisters, the crux of today’s verses: God promises to make David king- and this promise endures beyond his lifetime. It’s been called one of the theological high points of the OT Scriptures, and rightly so!
The so-called Davidic convent is in 2 Samuel 7:4-16, and it’s referenced here in Psalms 89. God says repeatedly things like “I will set… I will appoint… I will maintain…” God specifically says He has done and WILL CONTINUE TO DO all these things for David!:
a) God anointed David to serve his people (89:19-21)
b) God defeated David’s enemies (89:22-23)
c) God extended David’s kingdom (89:24-25)
d) God exalted David above all kings (89:26-27). And…
e) God would perpetuate David’s dynasty for ever (89:28-29)
To David: The Davidic covenant in the book of Samuel is a big, big deal, it’s God’s explicit promise that you, David, are going to have a great name, and find a place for your people, and find rest. But oh, one small caveat, some of it might not happen in your life time [1]. Still, if you were David, wouldn’t that be more than enough to keep you going, as you fight your battles, take care of your people, in the hopes of building the kingdom? If you recall the story of David, he DID make a name for himself, establish land and a kingdom, which he then passed onto Solomon his son.
To Ethan: What’s the covenant doing referenced in this Psalm then? Ethan the Ezrahite [2], was a wise man during the time of Solomon- wrote Psalm 89. It’s not obvious from the upbeat feel of these verses, but this Psalm is dated within the 70 years that the people were exiled to Babylon after Jerusalem has been attacked, ransacked and burned to the ground (the date is some time after 597BC[3]) . While they weren’t slaves and could earn income, it’s never pleasant when you’re away from home- what happened to their inheritance of land? There must have also been a feeling that their Yahweh had abandoned them, to allow the destruction of Jerusalem and to be chased out. What would the Davidic covenant have meant to them? To me, it would have provided hope as they longed and waited for the day that the covenant would be fulfilled.
As we now know, David’s kingdom wasn’t limited to the physical, not a national kingdom in Israel; God provided a new and lasting covenant sealed in the blood of Christ. (Isaiah 42:6; Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 22:20). As successors of David through the work of Jesus, we too, are considered anointed, blessed, and strengthened in God. The words here apply to us too, through the New Covenant!! L
Throughout history, many people have built God’s kingdom in different ways. This work requires a lot of faith; waiting and watching and trusting. I’d like to share the story of how one man did the work he felt God called him to do.
George Mueller is known as the founder of orphanages in a city called Bristol in the UK- which happens to be where I studied.
• He served in Bristol for over 60 years, and in his lifetime, opened 5 orphanages and took care of over 10,000 children. More amazingly, he did this by never asking directly for money, never took a salary, as he trusted in God to move the hearts of people to donate. Yet he, and his children, never went hungry.
• There are so many stories about how his prayers were answered! One, they had no food but set the table with empty plates, and he gave thanks- then there was a knock on the door as the baker had brought bread- he couldn’t sleep as he thought the orphans might need food!
• Another time, the knock on the door was because the milkman’s cart was stalled, and he wanted help to get it upright and offered milk in exchange.
• Once, when the boiler (heater)broke at the height of winter. Mueller prayed. Instead of a cold north wind, God sent a warm southerly breeze until the boiler was repaired.
While I have nothing against fund raising and asking for monies, George Muller’s very specific passion was to display with open proofs that God could be trusted with the practical affairs of life. This was his experience of God, and to him, this was the higher aim of building the orphan houses and supporting them by asking God, not people, for money.
He’s known as the father of faith, and the father of prayer; and the outcome of that was that he did great things for God, extending his kingdom through all the lifes that he claimed. Mueller kept a detailed diary (he was German, after all), detailing his requests and when God answered them. 50k such prayers were answered. 50 thousand!!!! It’s said that he prayed throughout his life for 5 friends to be saved, and the last one was converted at his funeral. What can stand against the prayer of a righteous man?

Kingdom Building Today and Decision-Making
Back to our current day, what do these words in Psalm 89 mean to us? What or how are we building God’s kingdom.
The examples we looked at today, King David, George Mueller, we find they’re men after God’s own hearts (see Acts 13:22, that was how David was termed). They had great faith in God, and we know that they spent a lot of time in God’s presence, talking to God, and asking God for what they needed in order to do His work. Remember George Mueller’s diary? 50,000 prayers answered
For myself, I have 2 reflections on Kingdom Building: (a) that it’s about seeking God and (b) it’s about building people.
It’s interesting that Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God as something to be SOUGHT (Matt 6- Sermon on the mount), rather than something to be BUILT. That reminds me of the importance balance between spending time seeking God, and then running off to do what is needed.
The hard work of building God’s kingdom- of building PEOPLE- involves many decisions points daily, both big and small. I’d like to share some of Mueller’s steps to making decisions: He says:
a) First, I get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to any particular matter. He says: Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Most of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be.
b) Next, I do not leave the result to feelings or simple impressions. That can make one open to great delusions.
c) I seek God’s will through, or in connection with, His Word. If you look to the Spirit without the Word, you open yourself to delusion. The Spirit must guide according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
d) I consider providential [God-controlled] circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
e) I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me.
f) I act only when I am at peace, after much prayer, waiting on God with faith. And if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
There you have it, words from a man who opened 5 orphanages, without asking (man) for money!!
I return to our church budget and that quick AGM exchange last week I had with Ming Yue.
I don’t think that the budget is the place to look to see whether we are in maintenance mode.
• I think it’s our prayer and worship lifes, both private and public.
• I think it’s about whether we care for people, whether we nurture and build lifes, one at a time, as Pastor Siow Hwee said in last week sermon.
• It’s about whether we care to consult God in the small and big decisions in our lifes.
Please join me to read these verse of God’s covenantal promise to David (and through Jesus, to US) together, before we close in prayer:
24 “But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him, And in My name his horn shall be exalted.
25 Also I will set his hand over the sea, And his right hand over the rivers. 26 He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him. 29 His seed also I will make to endure forever, And his throne as the days of heaven.

[1] Promises fulfilled after David’s lifetime-temple, seed, kingdom

[2] "The Ezrahite," distinguished for his wisdom ( 1 Kings 4:31 ). He is named as the author of the 89th Psalm. He was of the tribe of Levi. A Levite of the family of Merari, one of the leaders of the temple music ( 1 Chronicles 6:44 ; 1 Chronicles 15:17 1 Chronicles 15:19 ). He was probably the same as Jeduthun.

[3]After 70 years God would restore their descendants to their homeland but that was a long way off

Psalm 89:19–37 (Listen)

19   Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said:
    “I have granted help to one who is mighty;
    I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20   I have found David, my servant;
    with my holy oil I have anointed him,
21   so that my hand shall be established with him;
    my arm also shall strengthen him.
22   The enemy shall not outwit him;
    the wicked shall not humble him.
23   I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down those who hate him.
24   My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
    and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
25   I will set his hand on the sea
    and his right hand on the rivers.
26   He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
27   And I will make him the firstborn,
    the highest of the kings of the earth.
28   My steadfast love I will keep for him forever,
    and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29   I will establish his offspring forever
    and his throne as the days of the heavens.
30   If his children forsake my law
    and do not walk according to my rules,
31   if they violate my statutes
    and do not keep my commandments,
32   then I will punish their transgression with the rod
    and their iniquity with stripes,
33   but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
    or be false to my faithfulness.
34   I will not violate my covenant
    or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35   Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
    I will not lie to David.
36   His offspring shall endure forever,
    his throne as long as the sun before me.
37   Like the moon it shall be established forever,
    a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah