1. When God created the universe, and all that herein is, He created a universe that was originally pristine and clean. At the end of six literal days and nights Godís pronouncement on His handiwork was that it was "very good," Genesis 1.31.
2. But by the time Eve was tempted by the serpent in the garden of Eden sin had obviously come into Godís creation. But where did sin originate? It originated among the angelic host of heaven, one third of whom rebelled against God and were cast out, Revelation 12.4 and 9.
3. An account of the fall of the leader of this rebellion is found in Isaiah. Though he is now known as Satan, the Devil, the name given to him by God when he was created was Lucifer. Turn with me to Isaiah 14, where we will stand and read verses 12-15, which is the account of Luciferís sin against his Creator:
12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
4. This passage is a look back into the past, examining what sin Lucifer committed and what punishment awaits him.
5. Notice the five "I wills" of Lucifer, verses 13-14. Notice what he said in his heart: "I will ascend into heaven." He wasnít satisfied with Godís place of service for him. "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God." He wasnít satisfied with Godís station of service for him. "I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north." Perhaps this means that Satan willed to sit in the place of prominence over Godís people. "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds." Clouds are associated with Godís glory. Lucifer undoubtedly wanted greater prominence for himself. "I will be like the most High." He was ambitious and he aspired to be like God. Not to be godly, but to be like God!
6. The first sin, then, the sin which led to the great and futile rebellion against God in heaven by the angels, was the pride that welled up in the heart of their leader, Lucifer. And for this sin of pride there is waiting for Lucifer, now known as the Devil, Satan, a place called the lake of fire.
7. Having failed in his bid to exalt himself, did Lucifer then give up and repent of his great sin toward God? Not at all. He then set out on a campaign to exalt himself by other means, including tempting mankind and luring him into sin.
8. Which brings us to the garden of Eden, where the subtle appeal that was made to Eve by the serpent was a temptation to be proud: "your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods," the serpent said to her.
9. Eve succumbed, tempted her husband Adam, and he sinned, thereby plunging the human race into the dark abyss of sin, from which only Jesus Christ can rescue an individual.
10. Pride was the first sin. It was the sin that brought Satan down. It was the sin that brought mankind down. Understandable, then, that the proud look is an abomination to the LORD. No wonder He hates it, Proverbs 6.16-17. It reminds Him so much of Satan, of the rebellion of the angels, of the Fall of man, of how all of the tragedy and heartache began.
11. It is no wonder, then, that God resists the proud; those who have a high opinion of themselves, who esteem themselves greatly. God is gracious, but He is only gracious to those who are humble.
12. Brother Isenberger comes now to lead us in a song before this morningís sermon.
1. Turn in your Bible to Psalm 10. When you find the tenth Psalm, please stand for the reading of Godís Word:
1Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
2The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
3For the wicked boasteth of his heartís desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
4The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
5His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
6He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
7His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
8He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.
9He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
10He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
11He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.
12Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.
2. In verse 1 we read Davidís complaint that God is standing afar off. And he asks why God hides Himself in times of trouble. Now, we know that God is not standing afar off, just as much as David knew it. But there are times when Godís people feel as though God is standing afar off, when Godís people feel as though God is hiding Himself in times of trouble. Thatís what is meant here. David does not deny Godís omnipresence.
3. I preached at camp that there are times when God is, in a sense, nearer than at other times. Well, just as certainly, there are times when God is, in a sense, farther off than He is at other times.
4. If verse 1 is one book end that binds together Davidís complaint to God, then verse 12 is the other book end. There he pleads with God to rise up, to lift up His hand in judgment, to not forget the humble.
5. Considering the whole passage, Davidís cries in verses 1 and 12 have to do with Godís judgment, with Godís vindication, with Godís vengeance. If there are times when God seems near to save, when God seems aroused to draw sinners to His Son, then there are also times when God stands afar off and is not aroused to judge.
6. What happens when God withholds judgment? What happens when He seems to the godly to stand afar off? The wicked become very active, do they not? The wicked are emboldened to flourish in their awful conduct. The wicked ever more foolishly deceive themselves when they feel that judgment and justice is very far away.
7. When God holds back His hand of judgment you who are wicked begin to persecute the poor, verse 2. You boast of your heartís desire, verse 3. You think you will prosper forever, verse 6, where it says, "He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity."
8. You swear and tells lies, verse 7. You even become so degenerate that you murder the unborn, either by having abortions, or by encouraging others to have abortions, or by remaining silent in the face of abortions. Look at what David writes in verse 8: "in the secret places doth he murder the innocent." Surely that verse has application to the murdering of the unborn.
9. Now look at verse 11: "He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it." You forget, so you think God forgets. There are things you donít see, so you think the things you do arenít seen by God. How you have lowered God to your level. What blasphemy you are guilty of.
10. No wonder David complained so. He wanted to see God vindicated. He wanted to see God honored. He wanted Godís virtues extolled. He wanted even the wicked to bow before His God. And so do we. Amen? And so do we who are converted. My God reigns, and I want His rule to be acknowledged by one and all.
11. But, as much as Iíd like to, I donít have all morning to try and do justice to these 12 verses. I donít have all day to rehearse and preach on Davidís description of you who are wicked, you who are evil, you sinners; which is to say you here today who are unconverted Christ-rejecters.
12. So Iíd like to direct your attention to verse 4: "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." There are three things about the wicked we should take note of here. Three comments David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, assigns to you who are not Christians.
13. Donít think you are excluded who are children. Donít think you are excluded who are aged. Donít think you are excluded just because you have a long history of going to Church. It means nothing if you are unconverted, if youíve not come to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.
14. Listen carefully, my lost friend. Our text explains precisely why you are not converted, this morning, and what sin will ultimately drag you into Hell if you die without Christ.
1A. First, THERE IS THE MOTIVE THAT DRIVES YOU, YOUR PRIDE
1B. Letís Discuss This Sin Called Pride For A Moment
1C. There lies within the bosom of every human being a desire to be highly esteemed, to be exalted in a sense, to be lifted up. I think itís a part of our nature as Godís image bearers to want to be well thought of and to be honored to some extent.
2C. And itís Godís will that you be honored . . . in the proper way. After all, Proverbs 15.33 declares, "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility." And Proverbs 18.12 reads, "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility." God instructs a man how to properly receive and prepare for honor.
3C. So, God is not opposed to you being honored, to you being given some measure of appropriate prominence. But He is profoundly opposed to you exalting yourself, to you having an inflated opinion of yourself, to you overreaching.
4C. Remember, First Peter 5.6 directs you to "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." But you donít want to humble yourself, do you? Youíre opposed to patiently waiting for God to exalt you when you have the character for it, when youíve paid your dues, when He deems it appropriate. Oh, no. You want to be king of the mountain now, donít you?
2B. And Itís This Sinful Pride, This Wicked Determination To Hold To An Inflated Opinion Of Yourself, This Arrogant Notion Of Being A Self-Governing And Self-Authenticating King Or Queen In Your Own Eyes, That Drives Your Existence.
1C. No wonder God hides His goodness from you who are proud, Psalm 31.20. No wonder God will cut off the man with the proud heart, Psalm 101.5. No wonder the proud are cursed, Psalm 119.21. No wonder God will destroy the house of the proud, Proverbs 15.25. No wonder you who are so proud are an abomination to the Lord, and though hand join in hand you will not go unpunished, Proverbs 16.5. It is no surprise to us that Solomon pronounces a proud heart to be, very simply, sin, Proverbs 21.4.
2C. Now, I know that Iíve quoted a number of verses to you, and youíve not had time to look them all up. But you who are proud donít look up Scripture, do you? You do not consider Godís Word, do you? You are self-sufficient and obnoxious in your arrogance toward God, thinking to yourself that you do not need to be saved. Youíre fine just the way you are. So, I will sum up what these verse say before moving on to my second point.
3C. God hates pride. Itís such an abomination to Him because it reminds Him so much of the first sin ever committed against Him, the sin of Lucifer, who rebelled against God in proud arrogance. So, you who are so proud and so haughty in your countenances, which is to say that you have such smug looks on your faces, remind God of Satan. Not a good thing, I assure you.
4C. As well, you who are so proud have usurped from God His Own right to decide who will be exalted and who will be elevated. To elevate a man is a divine prerogative that you have illegitimately taken over to do yourself. Who do you think you are to do such a thing as pass judgment on yourself and acquit yourself of the crimes for which you stand accused? You who are so proud as to try to take from God what authority is His alone to exercise, to raise up and to exalt Who He chooses.
5C. It is so Satanic of you to be proud. So much like the lying promise of the serpent in Genesis 3.5, "ye shall be as gods," deciding on your own what station and position in life you should have, without any concern for the mind of God or the will of God on the matter.
6C. But your deception is so great, the blindness of your mind and eyes is so profound, that you pay no heed to the warning of Proverbs 29.23, "A manís pride shall bring him low." You are oblivious to the reality that your pride binds you in chains, Psalm 73.6, and that whatís required is nothing less than a miracle from God before you will see yourself the way you really are before God.
2A. Next, YOUR ACTIONS THAT ARE PROMPTED BY YOUR PRIDE
You donít think youíre so proud. But what is the key indicator of pride in a personís behavior? What shows better than anything else whether or not there is wicked pride in your bosom? David complained that you "will not seek after God." Now we know why you donít get converted. Because you are so proud you will not seek after God.
1B. This Refusal To Seek After God Is A Very Stupid Thing, Incredibly Foolish
1C. I speak so directly to you with the full knowledge that it will irritate your pride, and stir up in you an obnoxious spirit. But itís the truth I speak, and not lies. You are spiritually stupid for not seeking after God. And there is nothing the human mind can conceive thatís more foolish than to refuse to seek after God. Think about what Iíve just said. Is it not truth that that I speak?
2C. After all, in your present state you are damned to Hell forever. In your present condition you will fall into the hands of the living God, a fearful thing for even the child of God, but an absolute catastrophe for you who are without Christ.
3C. You would agree with me that a man who doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire was a fool bent on self-destruction. Not a one of you would fail to question the intelligence of someone who played Russian roulette with a semiautomatic pistol, though thatís exactly what two brothers did here in the state of California last year, with fatal results for the one who took the first turn.
4C. You chuckle, but is not your folly infinitely greater? You anger the omnipotent God. You raise the ire of the One who created Hell to be "the fire of His jealousy," Zephaniah 1.18. You sit there, on the precipice over the yawning jaws of Hell, as if you were in a lawn chair in the back yard, instead of being on the brink of eternity.
2B. But No Matter How Stupid Your Refusal To Seek After God Is, Itís Likely, Without The Direct Intervention Of God, That You Will Continue In Your Refusal To Seek Salvation In Christ
1C. Sin, you see, has so gripped your soul that you cannot alter your course. Youíve set out on a journey of refusing to seek after God and youíll continue until you come to the end.
2C. You see, on top of the fact that youíre proud, which our text plainly declares you to be, it also describes you as stubborn, even though the precise word is not used in this verse.
3C. But what is a stubborn man, except one who will not change his course? It doesnít matter if there is any sense in what you do, any intelligence, any reason, any wisdom. That doesnít enter into it at all. This is just what you do. Itís your identity. Itís what makes you what you are in your own mind, a person who does not seek after God.
4C. Never mind the insanity of it. Never mind the fact that you guarantee yourself not only an eternity in Hellfire. Never mind the fact that you consign to yourself a lifetime of family squabbles, since only by pride cometh contentions, Proverbs 13.10. You are set on the course you are going to follow because not only are you proud, but you are also stubborn.
5C. And thus you are guaranteed not only unhappiness throughout eternity, but unhappiness in this lifetime, as well as the unhappiness of all around who you claim to love and do love you.
3A. Finally, THERE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS TO BE CONSIDERED
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."
1B. Take Note Of The Denial Thatís Exposed Here
1C. "God is not in all his thoughts." I looked this phrase up in the "Analytical Key To The Old Testament" by Owens. And, a bit to my surprise, I found that the phrase "God is not" is exactly the same Hebrew phrase as is found in Psalm 14.1: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
2C. So, this verse could be paraphrased, "God is not is in all his thoughts." There is in your mind, sir, a continual, a perpetual, a never-ending denial of the reality of God. And even if you do not deny the absolute existence of God, you substitute for the reality of God as He is some abstract notion of a distant God Who is not personal, Who is not moving in the affairs of men, Who is not working in the lives of each one of His people and in the lives of some who are not His people, and Who is not to be feared as the judge of all flesh.
3C. God is not real to you, sinner. Heís not real as He ought to be. Heís not real as He really is. So, why is God not real to you? Why is He not in your thoughts? And there were a number of young people at camp who admitted to me that they simply didnít think about God . . . ever.
4C. Their minds, they admitted, were always on play, always on recreation, always on having fun, always on watching the television, always on computer games. Others would have their minds always on boys, or always on girls, or always on making money, or always on getting high, or always on something other than God and the things of God.
5C. My friend, when someoneís mind is always on something other than God, then it must be admitted that God is not thought by that person to be Who He is shown to be in the Bible. To have your mind on some thing or someone other than God means you are denying God to be Who He most certainly is.
2B. Delusion Is Required For Such Denial, Is It Not?
Yes, delusion. Thatís what it is. For God to never be in your thoughts, you who are made in the image and likeness of God, you have to be delusional.
1C. Now, it could very well be that you are self-deceived. James 1.22 warns against deceiving your own selves. There is, of course, a danger in deceiving yourself. Trick yourself once too often and youíll end up in a devilís Hell. Convince yourself that the Gospel is nothing, that you donít need to come to Jesus right this very day, and you will probably end up not ever coming to Christ. But youíve never been wrong about anything in your life, have you? So you donít need to concern yourself that you may be deceiving yourself, do you?. I didnít think so.
2C. There is also the possibility of satanic deception here. Second Corinthians 4.4 is where Paul makes mention of Satanís ability to blind the minds of them which believe not, to keep you from seeing the simplicity of the Gospel and the beauty of Christ. And since Satan and his demons are far more intelligent, experienced, and clever than any sinner, no sinner is a match for the devil when heís bent on deceiving you. And that includes you, my proud friend.
3C. Wicked man, foul young person, evil woman? You are proud, a sin thatís an abomination to God. Because of your pride you will not seek after God. And God is not in all your thoughts. It could be because you trick yourself. It could be because the devil is successfully tricking you.
4C. Or, worse than either of these, it could be that God has blinded you. "God doesnít do that, preacher." Doesnít He? Romans 11.7 informs us that God blinds men to the truth. Theologians call it judicial blinding, where God decides to blind people to the truth as a judgment against their sins. Has God judicially blinded you? Perhaps He has.
5C. John 12.39-40 reads, "Therefore they could not believe, because . . . He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted." My friend, God has blinded the eyes and hardened the hearts of people long before you came along. Think Heíll not do that to you? What makes you think He hasnít done that to you already?
1. Our text reads, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."
2. Oh, how proud you are to not humble yourself before God. How arrogant you are for failing yield to the demand of Jesus Christ to "come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden."
3. It is true, by any reasonable measure or standard, that you are wicked. No wonder godly David, a man after
Godís own heart, complained against such as you. No wonder he cried out for Godís judgment against such as you.
4. And do you think that God will not soon move against you in judgment? You donít think Godís long- suffering will soon reach the limit of its endurance and He will not swiftly pour out His wrath upon you?
5. You truly are proud, to think you can stand against God. You truly are proud to think you have any right to stall and refuse, while you consider and ponder your fate, while you arrogantly consider getting saved.
6. You have been summoned, sinner! It would do you good to quickly obey. Seek the LORD, while He may be found. Plead with God to remove the delusion, whether it be self-inflicted, whether it be satanic blindness, or whether God has already begun to move against you with blinding judgment.
7. Itís not the unpardonable sin. You can still be saved. If you will but humble yourself enough to come to Christ. Because though God does resist the proud, He gives grace to the humble. And if you will come to Christ, that will be humility enough to be saved. Come to Christ today.