Sunday, January 16, 2011

Psalm 139 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Ultrasound: Smiling baby in womb
Opening Thought: Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday across the Southern Baptist Convention and other churches across our nation.  On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Roe v. Wade, finding that a “right to privacy” it had earlier discovered in the Constitution was “broad enough to encompass” a right to abortion adopting a trimester scheme of pregnancy.Issued on the same day, Doe v. Bolton defined “health” to mean “all factors” that affect the woman, including “physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age.” 

Since that ruling, there have over 53 million abortions, the population of a mid-sized country. It would rank 24th among national populations, a number greater than the nations of South Africa, South Korea, or Spain.[1] For those born since 1973, for every ten people born, three more have been aborted. 

There are more than 140,000 second and third trimester abortions each year. Every year more American children die from abortions than have died from every war in which America has participated combined.

Contextual notes:
David wrote Psalm 139 to express God’s omniscience (vv. 1-6), omnipresence (vv. 7-12), and omnipotence (vv. 13-18), and therefore His overthrow of the wicked (vv. 19-22) and His examination and leadership of David’s life (vv. 23-24). This is a psalm about intimacy and the intimate relationship of the Lord can have with each individual (vv. 1-18) in the midst of the evil in the world (vv. 19-22), even the evil of his own heart (vv. 23-24).

Key Truth: David wrote Psalm 139 to teach Israel that the Lord is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about being the Lord who is pro-life.
Key Verse: Psalm 139:13-16
Pray and Read:  Psalm 139

Sermon Points:
1.   The Lord knows everything about you. (Psalm 139:1-6)
2.   The Lord is present everywhere about you. (Psalm 139:7-12)
3.   The Lord is in charge in every way about you. (Psalm 139:13-24)


a.   Every detail of our lives is known to the Lord, every fleeting thought and unspoken word. Nothing is kept back from the Lord who is close by, protectively covering us with His hand (Exodus 33:22). What a wonder! It is beyond comprehension!
b.   APPLICATION: The Lord knows you and me and he still loves us! What a reason to be thankful and happy and praise him. If he knows you and loves you, why can’t you love you?

a.   Now David develops his thought in verse 5 – God’s omnipresence. It would be no good trying to run away from God. He can hide nothing from the Lord, not even himself. God’s hand will always be there to guide him wherever he went.
b.   ILLUSTRATION: Old Negro spiritual, “Can’t hide, sinner, can’t hide.”
c.   APPLICATION: God can always find you for His purposes. You are never too far from him that he cannot lift you up and set you in a right place. You are never so far gone that he cannot rescue you and give you new life. Won’t you trust him?

a.   He is in charge of your formation (v. 13-18). He is in charge of your opposition (v. 19-22). He is in charge of your direction (v. 23-24).
b.   Isaiah 49:1 - 1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name; Job 10:8-12 - 8 "Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9 Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, 11 clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.). David gives God credit for the formation of his unborn embryo as God’s personal activity. Our constitution, our career is already written down in God’s ledger of human destiny (Psalm 56:8; 69:28)
c.   The KJV of Psalm 139:13 reads:  “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.”  God’s making of the “reins” (kidneys) – the seat of emotions, meaning mind, soul, will, spirit, body. Even this phrase points to value of each human life – No matter the circumstance, God was intimately involved.
d.   ILLUSTRATION: Did you know the literal meaning of the word fetus – means “child”? Genesis 25:22-24: baby sons jostled, struggled, combat in womb of Rebekah (same word as “smashing skulls” (Judges 9:53; Psalm 74:14): “22But the children inside her struggled with each other, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD.  23And the LORD said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two people will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger. 24When her time came to give birth, there were indeed twins in her womb.”  The fetuses in her womb were human beings. Pieces of flesh tissue do not fight, are not willful, do not have personality.
e.   ILLUSTRATION: Some people, even mistakenly shout, “You cannot legislate morality!” Really? So there shouldn’t be laws against immoral murder? There shouldn’t be laws against immoral behavior toward children? Likewise, Roe v. Wade legislated morality. But making what is moral legal is nothing new. Did you know that the ancient legal Code of Hammurabi (Law 209) forbids the taking of an unborn child’s life?  Did you know that the fourth century B.C. Hippocratic Oath, an oath that new doctors used to take, has a line which reads, “I swear I will not give a woman an abortion.”[2]

f.    139:14  (KJV) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
g.   Value of person, of life. Praise God for your existence and gift of life. Genesis 9:6 -- 6"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man; Amos 1:13 -- 13This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead  in order to extend his borders”

h.   Harrison Hickman, pollster for National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League: “Probably nothing has been as damaging to our cause as the advances in technology which have allowed pictures of the developing fetus, because people now talk about the fetus in much different terms than they did fifteen [now 20] years ago. They talk about it as a human being, which is not something that I have an easy answer on how to cure.”
i.     139:15-16 –unformed body – God has planned each person’s life before conception. Frame – skeletal form; woven together – like a beautiful tapestry, each thread in place and woven expertly, with great care. Depths of earth – ref. to Adam’s creation, same for each person. Before God formed him in the womb, He knew him (Jeremiah 1:5 - 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.")

j.    ILLUSTRATION: Water can be found in several familiar forms: as liquid, as a solid (ice), and as a gas (steam). But in every form, the essence of H2O is still there. It is water, no matter its form. Some, like Bill O’Reilly, say that a fertilized egg is a potential human being. So when does the potential human become a human? What form must it take to become a human being? Or perhaps like water, once an egg is fertilized, there is a particular genetic and molecular structure that is uniquely human. Its form may be a single cell, but its essence is human. But if we go with the potential human idea, at what point does one become human?
                     i.    Day 1 – fertilization, all human chromosomes present, unique life begins.
                    ii.    Day 6 – implantation in womb.
                  iii.    Day 22 – heart begins to beat with baby’s own blood.
                  iv.    Week 5 – eyes, legs, hands begin to develop.
                   v.    Week 6 – brain waves detectable, mouth, lips present, fingers forming.
                  vi.    Week 7 – eyelids, toes form, nose distinct, baby kicking and swimming.
                vii.    Week 8 – all organs in place, bones, fingerprints begin to form.
               viii.    Weeks 9 & 10 – teeth begin to form, fingernails develop, baby can turn head, frown.
                  ix.    Week 11 – baby can grasp objects placed in hand, all organs functioning, fingerprints complete, skeletal structure, nerves, circulation.
                   x.    Week 12 – baby can experience pain, has nerves, spinal cord, thalamus.
                  xi.    Week 17 – baby can have dream (REM) sleep.
                xii.    Week 20 – earliest a partial birth abortion performed.
k.   ILLUSTRATION: Unborn children have memories, according to a 2009 study from The Netherlands. Researchers at two medical centers found unborn babies at 30 weeks gestation show short-term memory. By the time the unborn children reach 34 weeks of development, they “are able to store information and retrieve it four weeks later,” The Washington Times reported. The children adjusted to the vibrations and sounds to the extent they would no longer respond, according to the report. That process is called “habituation.” “It seems like every day we find out marvelous new things about the development of unborn children,” said Randall O’Bannon, director of education and research for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, The Times reported. “We hope that this latest information helps people realize more clearly that the unborn are members of the human family with amazing capabilities and capacities like these built in from the moment of conception.”[3]
l.     Luke 1:41, 44 – John had the anointing of Holy Spirit upon him in womb. (41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.)[4]
m. ILLUSTRATION: We saw some significant things happen in the mid-term election, and with this 112th Congress there is good news. The 2010 mid-term election was record-breaking for conservative Christian turnout, and voters carried their values with them when they voted. 13 of the 16 new freshman US Senators – or 81% – are pro-life. 81 of the 97 new Freshmen U. S. House Members – or 84% – are pro-life. In fact, this election produced a net gain of 52 pro-life seats in the House, resulting in the most pro-life U. S. House since the Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, announced that “January will mark the beginning of the arguably most pro-life House ever.” 24 And the increasingly diverse conservatives -- two new blacks, six new Latinos, and 9 new females are all pro-life; and the addition of these new women increases by 60% the number of pro-life women in the U. S. House. Furthermore, more than 30 states are pushing a personhood amendment to their state constitutions.[5]
n.   APPLICATION: As voters, we have to remember that this election was not an event – it was only a single step in a lifelong process of involvement and civic engagement, requiring us not only to be involved in every election but also always to carry our conservative religious, moral, and constitutional values with us as we vote (and we must also stay actively involved between elections). So let’s stay engaged and finish the job, no matter what happens or how long it takes.

o.   139:17-18 – The evidence of the enormity and incomprehensibility of God’s mind and thoughts are overwhelming to David. (Psalm 40:5 -- 5 Many, O LORD my God, / are the wonders you have done. / The things you planned for us / no one can recount to you; / were I to speak and tell of them, /   they would be too many to declare.; Romans 11:33-36 -- 33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  34"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"  35"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen)

 p.   139:19-22 – Those of us who have seen evil and the destruction of human life can see that God must judge the wicked.

q.   ILLUSTRATION: In Exodus 1:7, 15: Pharaoh ordered partial birth abortion of all Hebrew boys.  Midwives lied to the government, were disobedient to law of the land, and God rewarded them. In contrast, Pharaoh’s youth ended up on the bottom of the Red Sea.

Margaret Sanger
r.    ILLUSTRATION: Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, opened the first birth control clinic in 1916, and declared in her book, Pivot of Civilization, that we must reduce the number of blacks and Hispanics in this country: “We are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all . . . “ This endless breeding is the “dead weight of human waste,” including the poor, blind, deaf, mute, epileptic, “feeble-minded,” mentally ill, diseased, prisoners, prostitutes, and alcoholics.  Today Planned Parenthood claims as their core clientele “young women, low-income women, and women of color.”
s.    Margaret Sanger: “All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class.” Her clinic’s goal was “weeding out the unfit” and “preventing the birth of defectives.”
t.    Margaret Sanger, in a letter in 1939 to Clarence Gamble, a partner in her plan to promote birth control and abortions in the black community."We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
u.   Sanger is part of a group of colleagues that span from Darwin to Hitler. Did you know that the full title of Darwin’s book is, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
v.   ILLUSTRATION: But there are life issues on the other end of the life spectrum too, with the elderly. In July 2010, President Obama's recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick, a controversial advocate for health-care rationing demonstrates how committed he is to socialized medicine and makes life "more dangerous" for elderly Americans, Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land said. "To put Dr. Berwick in charge of administering $500 billion in cuts to Medicare just as the baby boomers begin to access that system is like putting the most ravenous fox in complete charge of the hen house," Land said. "Dr. Berwick's appointment should be headlined: 'Medical rationing is here.' He is the No. 1 advocate for rationing care to the elderly and to the terminally ill as cost-saving measures. Life just got more dangerous for every American over 65."[6]
w.  139:23-24: David also realizes that the same tendencies to sin dwell in him as well. He asks God to show him where he is wrong and lead him in the everlasting way of eternal life.
x.   APPLICATION: While we stand against the anti-life, racist, and wicked ideas of these people, we also realize that this same kind of sin lives in us, and we must repent of our sin, asking the Lord to make us more Christlike.

[2] ILLUSTRATION: One much mistranslated passage that pro-abortionists is Exodus 21:22 in which they read that an abortion can take place if there is fear of injury to the woman. In Exodus 21:22ff – the phrase in question is, “but there is no serious injury”; “but there is no catastrophe” Hebrew: ason (cf. Genesis 42:4, 38; 44:29 are the only other occurrences of word, concerning fears about the son Benjamin, every instance refers to death of young child. Some read it as harm to mother, but every other use is of death of child. Rachel died in childbirth, but there is no use of ason “catastrophe.”  V. 22 “children (pl. masc.) came out of her.” The writer is referring to Ex 21:4, same form as v. 22, means whether male or female, same value for sons and daughters.  Numbers 35, an unintentional murder could be fined even if the child born healthy.
[3] . “The results were based on a study conducted on 100 women and their unborn children. Scientists gave the women a series of buzzes on their stomachs for one second each with a “fetal vibroacoustic stimulator” at five points during the final eight weeks of pregnancy, according to the July 16 report. They used ultrasound imaging to measure “fetal learning” patterns, particularly through the baby’s eye, mouth and body movements.”
[4] Abortion for incest, rape?  Genesis 19:36-38: sons of Lot and his daughters – see what they became.