In this sermon for 05 May 2019, the Scripture is Psalm 30. We consider the parallels between the (Old Testament) experiences of the Psalmist and the (New Testament) description of the life of Jesus – as we find ourselves journeying to the point of death and forward into life…
Psalm 30 (New International Version)
A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple of David.
1 I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favoured me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8 To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
The story is told of King Canute who was once ruler of England.
The members of his court were continually full of flattery.
- You are the greatest man that ever lived…
- You are the most powerful king of all…
- Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do, nothing in this world dares disobey you.
The king was a wise man and he grew tired of such foolish speeches.
One day, as he was walking by the seashore, Canute decided to teach them a lesson.
“So you say I am the greatest man in the world?” he asked them.
“O king,” they cried, “there never has been anyone as mighty as you, and there will never be anyone so great, ever again!”
“And you say all things obey me?” Canute asked.
“Yes sire” they said. “The world bows before you, and gives you honour.”
“I see,” the king answered. “In that case, bring me my chair, and place it down by the water.”
The servants scrambled to carry Canute’s royal chair over the sands. At his direction, they placed it right at the water’s edge.
The King sat down and looked out at the ocean. “I notice the tide is coming in. Do you think it will stop if I give the command?”
“Give the order, O great king, and it will obey,” cried his entourage.
“Sea,” cried Canute, “I command you to come no further! Do not dare touch my feet!”
He waited a moment, and a wave rushed up the sand and lapped at his feet.
“How dare you!” Canute shouted. “Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!”
In came another wave, lapping at the king’s feet. Canute remained on his throne throughout the day, screaming at the waves to stop. Yet in they came anyway, until the seat of the throne was covered with water.
Finally, Canute turned to his entourage and said, “It seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe. Perhaps now you will remember there is only one King who is all-powerful, and it is he who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of his hand. I suggest you reserve your praises for him.”
King Canute was wise but – so often – human beings are not.
Have you ever felt as strong as a mountain?
- A person who calls himself frank and candid can very easily find himself becoming tactless and cruel.
- A person who prides himself on being tactful can find eventually that he has become evasive and deceitful.
- A person with firm convictions can become pigheaded.
- A person who is inclined to be temperate and judicious can sometimes turn into someone with weak convictions and banked fires of resolution . . .
- Loyalty can lead to fanaticism.
- Caution can become timidity.
- Freedom can become licence.
- Confidence can become arrogance.
- Humility can become servility.
All these are ways in which strength can become weakness. [Read more…]