International Sunday School Lesson
For Week of November 7, 2010
Purpose: To affirm God's extraordinary power to save, expressed through discipline and deliverance.
Scripture Text: Psalm 66:1-12 (NRSV)
(1)Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
(2)sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.
(3)Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
(4)All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name.” Selah
(5)Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
(6)He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There we rejoiced in him,
(7) who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah
(8)Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
(9) who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
(10)For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
(11)You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs;
(12) you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
The title to our lesson is “God is Awesome,” but the challenge is: How do we let the world know? The Psalmist talks of several reasons and ways to proclaim that truth. First by making noise and singing, but in today's world we are called to testify or to be a witness to God's awesomeness.
In the recent past of the United Methodist, during the 2008 General Conference, a new phrase was added to the oath of membership. For years the United Methodist asked prospective members this question: “Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church, and uphold it by your prayers, your presence, your gifts and your service?” The 2008 General Conference added a fifth way of upholding the church: “by your witness.”
During the past several years when Labron James was the darling of the Cleveland franchise of the NBA, you would see many signs in the crowd saying, “I am a witness,” those fans wanted the world to know they had seen greatness on the basketball court and were proud to share that with the rest of the world. Today those same fans feel betrayed by the one that they “witnessed.”
I applaud those within the United Methodist General Conference that saw a need for a deeper commitment besides; prayers, presence, gifts, and service, as Christians we are called to proclaim God's goodness, and power to an unbelieving world. We are to be “witnesses” for the all of the world to see and hear.
The Psalmist is proclaiming his witness of all that God accomplished for the nation of Israel in the past and for himself in his lifetime.
Today, there is in a sense, a trial taking place, God's existence and nature is being challenged. Does life have any real meaning? We are all being challenged by those around us to justify our belief in a creator God, that teaches us harmony, and sacrificial living is better than the “get all you can, from as many as you can” crowd. The continued existence of Christianity is at stake, forces on every side are calling us “stupid,” “uneducated fools,” for believing in a force that has not been proven by science to exist. Yet, it is the difference that the Incarnate Christ, has made on our own lives, which we have experienced, that we are called to be witnesses of.
The world court of opinion is calling all of us to be a “Witness.” How are you going to respond? Does your life have meaning and purpose? Is generosity a virtue or stupidity? Is sacrifice ever noble, or is it just the losing position in a never-ending battle for power? Is the hope we have of seeing our friends and family in an afterlife, “a feel good moment” or is it living in denial?” The world is looking at us as witnesses. We have been called to “tell the truth” of all that we have seen and heard. The world has no answer for the truth of a changed life. History tells us that what the Psalmist wrote was true and undeniable; history will someday do the same with our witness.
“How firm a foundation” are you standing on?