January 22, 2023
Where were we before we were born, and where will we go after we die? In Psalm 139, David provides the answer to these questions, proclaiming that we are the result of God’s creative handiwork, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Not only this, but God has also designed us with purpose and has determined our days. Noting David’s response to these truths, Alistair Begg exhorts us to remember that the almighty God of design and determination is worthy of our praise, gratitude, and trust.
Sermon Transcript: Print
Please turn with me to the 139th Psalm. Psalm 139. If you’ve been with us in the earlier part of the year, you know that we’ve set ourselves the challenge of studying this in the space of four Sunday mornings. Today is the third of those four Sundays. And we read the section that begins at verse 13:
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
Father, we’re glad to be able to say these things to you by way of our songs, but we recognize that what you have said to us is of greater importance than what we say to you. We thank you for our Bibles. We thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit. And we pray now that as we look to this passage, you will help us, that we might understand, believe, and live in the light of its truth. For Jesus’ sake we ask it. Amen.
Well, we come to the third stanza of this psalm. There is one section that remains that runs from verse 19 through to 24. And what we’re doing here is we are acknowledging the fact that David in this way, as in other of his poems, is reflecting on the nature of his relationship with God. The wonder of who God is is combining with the reality in David’s heart and mind that this God who is so vast and so powerful actually knows him. And that’s how he began. In verses 1–6, he is saying, “God, you know me”; and then, in verses 7–12, “God, you’re with me”; and now, here, in verses 13–18, “God, you made me.” “You made me.”
Now, when we began a couple of weeks ago, three weeks ago, we said that this psalm—along with the Bible, really, in its entirety—addresses foundational questions that are asked by everybody at some point along the journey of life. And we articulated them in a certain way. Similarly, we could say that people are asking, “Where was I, if anywhere, before I was born?” I remember when Sue and I were driving all the way to Florida many, many years ago. Somewhere about three o’clock in the morning, when we’re driving through the night, a voice from the back seat of our car, from one of our children, actually asked that question: “Excuse me? Where was I before I was born?” And so I said, “Okay, well, your mom will talk about that when we get there.”
“Where was I, if anywhere, before I was born? And where will I be, if anywhere, after I die?” Very, very important questions. We need to have an answer to those questions to explain our origins and to understand our destiny. And so philosophers and scientists, people of great worth, have answered those questions in their own way throughout history.
Einstein, who was a celebrated intellectual in his day, 1932, writing in the “Credo,” answered as follows: he said, “Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntarily and uninvited for a short stay, without knowing the whys and the wherefore[s].” There is no real order to it, he says. We can’t really understand it. We’re not here by invitation. We’re not here by design. We’re only here for a short while. And quite honestly, many of the questions remain unanswered.
Now, we could go around the universe and give other answers, but let’s just look at the answer that David is providing here. In contrast to Einstein, David is saying, “I am the result of God’s creative handiwork. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Now, this is not just a message that ebbs out of the Old Testament, but it is a message which runs through the totality of Scripture. And quite wonderfully, by the time the apostle Paul—who, of course, began life as a very orthodox and devout Jewish boy, raised in that context, understanding that God is God—when he finally met God in the person of Jesus on the way to Damascus, he had a vast expansion of his understanding of the extent to which God was going in order that God might know him.
And so, when he is invited to address the intellectuals in Athens, it’s not surprising that he takes the opportunity to make sure that they understand that God “himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” God “himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” So the fact that we’re alive is on account of God’s eternal purpose, that we are still breathing is on account of God’s sustaining grace, and that we have a future to anticipate is under his sovereign care. The Bible declares that the universe was made by him, that it is providentially sustained by him, and that the universe is accountable to him.
Now, it’s not uncommon when you begin to affirm such things or perhaps get in a conversation with friends and colleagues at work or at school, and you are brave enough to make such an affirmation to say, “Well, we’re studying the 139th Psalm, and this is what it says,” and so one of your friends says to you, “But I thought you were doing science at college. I thought you were a scientific person. I mean, why would you even suggest such a thing?” And the great pressure that comes to individuals, unless we’ve got a grasp of this, is a real pressure.
Bruce Milne, in his book Know the Truth, which as elders we studied a good long time ago now, makes a point, and he makes it very well. You see, he is pointing out that it is the very order and structure of the universe which makes scientific investigation possible. It is the fact of the repetitive nature of things that allows people to extrapolate from a hypothesis and to affirm it or to set it aside. He says, “It[’s] no accident that the scientific revolution was located in the Christianized West at the close of the Middle Ages, nor that so many of the leaders of the revolution were men of profound [biblical, Christian] faith.”
Now, you can simply check and see if that is the case. We can go back and say, “How many of those men were actually God-fearing men?” And the fact is that they recognized that God, who has established everything, has so structured the universe that it would be possible for them to find out God’s truth after him, if you like, and to make these discoveries.
But of course, we’re a long way from that initial revolution. And we know, too, that, as we sang this morning, “though the eye of sinful man [his] glory may not see,” and we are at the end of a period of time—and even in these last twenty-four months, I would say—where there has never, in my estimation, been such a preoccupation with science, as if science as an entity was God; as if science knew everything, and those of us who are poor souls, fiddling around, as it were, with the Bible, somehow or another have to try and catch up.
We owe a large measure of this to Darwin’s Origin of the Species. At the end of the nineteenth century, Darwin’s hypothesis allowed people who didn’t want to believe in God—didn’t, certainly, want to be believe in a God who knew them and to whom they were accountable—but they had no real way of dispensing with him until along comes Darwin and his friends and says, “Oh, well, you don’t really need to believe in a God like this. Let me show you how this works.”
And at the same time, when we begin to affirm these things—at least, this may not happen to you, but it happens to me—people say, “Well, why does the Bible say such silly things? I mean, why does it say, for example, that God ‘clothes the grass of the field’? He doesn’t go out clothing the grass of the field. Why does it say that?” Well, it’s a good question, isn’t it? It says it because the psalmist or the prophet, in affirming that, did not say that because he did not understand the process of sowing and of germination and of fruitfulness. He wasn’t saying, “Oh, we don’t know how it works; God just clothes it.” No, he’s saying that the primary cause of all that we have is none other than God himself.
In the same way, when you read the Bible and it says that God sends the rain, when it says that God moves the clouds, when it says he controls the thunder, when he deals with the lightning, once again, it is not because the people did not understand the water cycle. They may not have understood it the way we were taught it at school, where we had to understand evaporation, convection, precipitation, and collection, and it all goes around and around like that. They got some measure of that. They recognized it. They looked up, and they saw it. But what they are saying is “God is behind this. God is the one who put the water cycle in process. That’s why it works as it does.”
God’s omnipotence shapes David’s understanding of the world. It is because of who God is that the world is as it is. And that’s why the prophets of God spoke so straightforwardly in their generation. Because the gods of the nations that surrounded them and often invaded them had all kinds of theories and ideas. And so, for example, Jeremiah, he says, “Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?” The answer is no. They can’t bring rain. You see, either God is God, or you have a god that you imagine. He exists somehow or another in your imagination. What kind of god would that be? No, you see, God has revealed himself. Can any of the false gods bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O Lord our God?
We set our hope on you,
for you do all these things.
“You’re the one that does all this.”
You see what a vastly different perspective, in view of the world, it actually is; how to think Christianly, as we said on the first Sunday of the year, is so vitally important—to think biblically. That doesn’t mean you only think about things that are in the Bible, but it means that we view the things that unfold in the universe through the prism of the Bible or understood in light of the truth of the Bible. “You do all these things.” And “all these things” includes not only the vastness of it all, the macro picture, but also the micro picture.
And it is to this micro picture—forgive me for taking so long to get to verse 13—but this micro picture is what is being addressed here. Notice what he says. Let me suggest that we just gather our thoughts under two simple headings: one, “You designed me,” and two, “You determined my days.”
“You designed me,” first of all. Notice what it says: “For you formed my inward parts”—created, fashioned, put together according to plan. “I did not arrive by accident, but I am here by design. I am the intended result of the mind of God.”
See, look how David is dealing with this. He doesn’t just say, “You know everything”; he says, “You know me.” He doesn’t say, “You are everywhere”; he says, “You are everywhere with me.” And he doesn’t just say, “You made everything”; he says, “You made me. Me! Little old…” No. “You made me.”
Wilcock, whose commentaries I find wonderfully helpful on the Psalms, says, you know, what we have here is “the ‘Already’ God.” “The ‘Already’ God.” He says, for example, “I can[’t] utter a word without his knowing it already (v. 4). I ca[n’t] go anywhere without him being there already (v. 8); [and] I ca[n’t] even be [me],” to be “what I am without his having already made me.” That’s the picture: “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. … I was … intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”
Now, the pictures that are here can be teased out on your own. “You knitted me. You wove me.” There’s nothing random about this. “And all of this you’ve done in secret”:
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
… in the depths of the earth.”
What does he mean by that? Well, I think it’s just a metaphor: in the place of unknowing. “When I was safe within my mother’s womb, your eyes saw my unformed substance.” Spurgeon says of this—he says, “The Psalmist had scarcely peered within the veil which hides the nerves, [the] sinews, [the] blood-vessels from common inspection.” Incidentally, Spurgeon couldn’t even approximate to the knowledge that we have now, in the twenty-first century, in terms of human anatomy. But he says, “The science of anatomy was quite unknown to him; and yet he had seen enough to arouse his admiration of the work and his reverence for the Worker.” You know, it’s pretty impossible, I think, for a person to be present for the arrival of a child when it comes in the immediacy of that moment and go, “Are you kidding me? Look at this!” That’s what he’s saying: “You did this. You formed. You knitted. You contrived. You made me.”
And “Your eyes saw my unformed substance.” In other words, God was doing ultrasounds long before we found ultrasounds. Every scientific discovery for good is a discovery of that which God in his infinite wisdom has made possible by his creative design. You see what he’s saying here? “Even when my mom didn’t know that I was there, you knew I was there—when I was embryonic, when that little thing had happened down there, and she didn’t even know. She didn’t know. But you knew. Because you were responsible for that.” That’s what he’s saying.
“Well,” you say, “this is not exactly a very scientific explanation of things, is it?” No, of course it’s not. It’s a very good explanation of things. I don’t expect… Some of you are medics. I was at the [Cleveland] Clinic this week and sitting in the coffee shop waiting for someone, and I tried to listen in on conversation, see if I could learn something. And I was hoping, actually, that I would sit next to a couple of doctors who were in obstetrics, because my head was full of Psalm 139, and I thought, “Perhaps they’ll be talking about things, and then I can learn.” Well, they were talking about things, but unfortunately, they were not in obstetrics. But they were talking about how they had some exams coming up, and one was a fellow, and another was something else. It was all very interesting. I only got the gist of it. But it was clear to me that there is a certain way in which you’re trained, and there is a certain answer to the question that you’re asked—for example, “I would like you to explain in our next tutorial the formation of the fetus.”
Now, we don’t expect that the Christian medic says, “Oh, that’s easy: Psalm 139, verses 13 and following.” But we do expect that the Christian medic actually believes that. That’s not the scientific explanation, but that is the underlying reality. God is at work. Psalm 127. We often share it, don’t we, when we have occasion to write a card to somebody who’s become a parent for the first time? “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” “God has done this. God has put me together,” he says, “with a unique purpose.”
Think about David’s life as well. He’s a shepherd. He’s a soldier. He’s a poet. He’s whatever he is. And he recognizes he didn’t come into existence by accident. And neither did any one of us. If this isn’t too graphic—and if is, it’s too late—none of us is here as a result of the mechanical consequence of a particular act of intercourse. Because intercourse has occurred millions of times without resulting in conception. When it results in conception, the Christian affirms that this is an act of God—that from eternity, he purposed that this would be the case. There are no mistakes: God from eternity gladly giving life, deliberately bringing each of us into being.
Now, we need to teach this to our children. It’s a fair question: “Where was I before I was born?” You were nowhere before you were born! We’re not Hindus. You were nowhere before you were born. You were put together, woven, knitted, intricately, in an amazing way, in your mom’s tummy. And God did this because he wanted you here, right now, today, to be you.
Now, the children need to learn this. And I was tempted to suggest to Ruth that we would finish with one of my favorite songs. I’m not sure that she was amenable to the idea, so I didn’t even broach it. But, you know, “If I Were a Butterfly.” It’s a theological wonder, this song, you know:
If I were a butterfly,
I’d thank you, Lord, for giving me wings.
And if I were a robin in the tree,
I’d thank you, Lord, that I could sing.
And if I was a fish in the sea,
I’d wiggle my tail, and I’d giggle with glee.
But I just thank you, Father,
For making me me.
Because you gave me a heart,
And you gave me a smile,
And you gave me Jesus,
And you made me your child,
And I just thank you, Father,
For making me me.
I’m not as tall as I’d like to be.
I’m not as bright as I’d like to be.
I’m not… I’m not…
Whatever, whatever, whatever. “I’m not like… I’m not… I’m not… I am… I’m not… I’m not… I’m not…” You are God’s perfect design for you. That’s what he’s saying. That’s either true, or it’s a flat-out lie. Either we live in chaos, or we live under the all-seeing eye of the God of Psalm 139. And if you are making your way through life without a sensible answer to those questions—
“Where did I come from? What am I? Where am I going?”—then let me encourage you to look carefully at the way in which Scripture addresses all of that.
“You designed me.” And then, just secondly, “And you determined my days.” That’s really verse 16, isn’t it?
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
[before they came to be,] the days that were formed for me.
I find that a harder translation than the NIV. The NIV says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” “Before one of them came to be,” “all the days.” So, “From embryonic to the very end of life and beyond, you are in sovereign control.”
Now, you see what a difference this makes to, really, every aspect of our lives. Many of us wrestle with anxiety. Some of us are sometimes almost paralyzed by these things, and we need the help of the companionship of God’s people, we need the instruction of God’s Word, we need the encouragement of God’s Spirit to come to us in the watches of the night and remind us of these things. We ought not to feel so put about that we feel these very things. After all, Jesus addressed his own disciples, who were within his company, who watched him, who listened to him, who saw him perform miracles, and yet he says to them, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Now, obviously, anxiety was part of their existence. “Do you think by being anxious you can extend your life?” “Do[n’t] be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” “Your eyes saw my uniformed substance. You’ve written this down in your book.” “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, I couldn’t get them on a spreadsheet. If I could count them, they’re more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”
Now, let me say… “You designed me. You direct my steps.” How does David respond to this here? I suggest just in two ways, but I want to add one. I think it’s there; you could check.
First of all, he responds in verse 14 by saying, “God, you are praiseworthy. You are worthy of praise. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” So this is not the same as people going on Facebook explaining how magnificent they are. No. The person who understands that God made them realizes what they are—good, bad, ugly, whatever the bits and pieces might be. The real amazing part of it is that “you are worthy of praise, because you actually made me. I am not a self-made man. I’m not a self-made woman. There’s no reason… I don’t care how many followers I’ve got on my thing,” whatever it might be. No. It is praise. It is praise.
Because “you have enabled me to see what godless people cannot see.” We sang of it! “Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see.” Isn’t that what we saw in Romans chapter 1? “Behind a facade of wisdom, they became fools who exchanged the glory of immortal God for things that creep and crawl and fly.” They said, “No, no, no, we don’t believe in the living God.” But you’ll worship this? “Though the eye of sinful man [your] glory may not see.” We see.
So, atheists know whether it’s snowing or whether the sky is blue. They can look up and say the sky is blue. They can look out and say it’s a sunny day. But the hymn writer gets it well in his amazing hymn which begins,
Loved with everlasting love,
Led by grace that love to know;
Spirit, moving from above,
You have taught me it is so.
And then he gets into his second verse, and he says,
Heaven above is softer blue,
And earth around is sweeter green;
And something lives in every hue
That Christless eyes have never seen:
And birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
And earth with deeper beauty shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
That I am his, and he is mine.
So, I mean, the Christian artist ought to be really jazzed about the art. The scientist, as a Christian, ought to be able to say—they come out of the surgery, and they don’t just say, “We did a great job there.” They say, “That was a great job. But God, you’re an amazing God. That you plumbed everything in such a way that we could do that, that you made it in all of its intricacy—you are worthy of my praise! Wonderful are your works!”
Secondly, “Your thoughts are precious.” So, “worthy of my praise,” and “Your thoughts are precious”: “How precious to me are your thoughts.” It’s almost a repeat of verse 6, isn’t it? “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it[’s] high; I can[’t] attain it.” I think that David here is just referring to all the thought, if you like, that God has put into forming, fashioning, and framing his life. He says, “I can’t even begin to imagine how you could put the universe together—how you could put all this together, how we’re in the right position in the solar system, why we haven’t frozen to death, why we haven’t burned up, why we actually still spin.” The philosophers were all asking. Paul was a bright guy. You know how he answered it? He says in Colossians 1, “In him”—that is, in Christ, in the Word, in God incarnate—“in him all things hold together.” The psalmist is looking out, and he says, “You know, I just can’t grasp it all.”
And then notice how the section ends: “I awake, and I am still with you.” Are we to assume that David actually, having these big thoughts, kind of drifted off to sleep, and then he woke up, and he said, “Well, I’d better finish this: ‘I awake, and I am still with you’”? I don’t think so. It might work for some of you here, who have drifted off into the second and third stages of anesthesia, and you wake up, and you go, “Whoa! I am awake, and I am still with you. Yes.” I don’t think so.
It’s open for discussion, but I think it’s a little glimpse of the resurrection. After all, sleep is one of the metaphors that runs all the way through the Old Testament and into the New. “Don’t worry,” Jesus said of someone, “she has fallen asleep.” “Don’t worry,” he says, “I’ll take care of Lazarus. He’s asleep. I go to wake him.” I want to read this little phrase, “I awake, and I[’m] still with you,” in light of 1 Thessalonians 4: “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
When you fall asleep, you never know you’re asleep till you wake up. That’s what being asleep is. Ultimately, for the Christian, you fall asleep in the arms of Jesus, and you wake up, and you’re home. What he’s actually saying is—remember, he said, “If I go way up there, if I go way down there, if I go there, if I go there, already you’re there with me. Because, after all, think about it: You made me. You fashioned me. You’ve got it under control, from the very beginning to the very end—all the bits and pieces.”
Now, here’s my final thought. The word here for “precious” is a word that means “weighty” or “heavy.” So I wrote down in my notes—I said, “Well, wait a minute. God, your thoughts are praiseworthy. Your thoughts are precious. But your thoughts are pretty heavy.” So, let’s do—’cause I want another p—so, praiseworthy, precious, and puzzling. Puzzling. Or perplexing. Or painful. Because recognize that when we affirm the sovereignty of God in this way, we are acknowledging that Scripture affirms his sovereignty over all—that this God sees the invisible; that he is the one who penetrates what to us is inaccessible; and he is the one who is operative, superintending every detail; and that this God is able to do everything that he chooses to do—and yet we live in a fallen world; that we live with brokenness; we live with pain, with suffering, with disappointment, with bereavement, and with death.
Therefore, when we seek to affirm with David here, “Your thoughts are precious, you are praiseworthy, but God, your thoughts are puzzling to me—because only you know the end from the beginning,” you realize how vitally important this is, for the believer to acknowledge that God’s sovereignty extends to our genetic code. Therefore, we have to be prepared to say, “I don’t know why this would be, I don’t know how this works, and I don’t like it. Your thoughts are painful to me. All the days of my life were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Now, loved ones, you’ve got to understand that God cannot be sovereign over some things unless he’s sovereign over all things. And that is why he says, “Your thoughts are heavy. These are heavy thoughts, O God. This is not some light, superficial explanation of the universe that puts a spring in my step and allows me to dance through my days. No, this is ‘through many dangers, toils, and snares.’”
We remember when Elliot—whom I quoted, I think, last week because I saw that picture again—I mean, when Elliot and his colleagues were brutally murdered by the folks that were killing people and chopping their heads off, in reflection upon that, Elisabeth, Jim’s wife, said this: “Either we are living adrift in chaos, or we are individuals created, loved, upheld, and placed purposefully, exactly where we are.” That’s it. It’s either a meaningless universe, or God is sovereign. There’s no halfway house.
Helen Roseveare, as a missionary—Cambridge graduate, clever, sweet lady—goes with all of her educational-medical background to the Belgian Congo, as it was, in the 1960s. In the uprising—the terrorist uprising in the Congo—many of her colleagues were killed. She survived. She was brutalized, raped. When she finally recuperated and she looked back on what had happened and she looked forward to what was ahead, she said to me—she said, “I actually felt as though God said to me, ‘Helen, will you trust me with that, even if I never tell you why? Will you?’”
Nancy Guthrie—her little book God Does His Best Work with Empty—addresses very helpfully all the loss in her life and her husband’s life in the two children that were born with the same kind of disease that took them into eternity within months. And she says… I think it is in there; I can’t be sure. You can buy the book and check. I think it’s Nancy who says the hardest thing to accept is the softest place to land. To what is she referring? The sovereignty of God. It’s hard to accept that, isn’t it? That God was sovereign over this loss, over this bereavement? And yet it’s the softest place to land.
Jesus is helpful in this, isn’t he? Jesus goes to the cross according to the eternal plan and foreknowledge of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And they find him in the garden of Gethsemane, and he says, “I am overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He’s not going, “Hey, yeah, I’m the propitiation for sin.” No: “If there is any possible way…” Well, if that is Christ and he is “touched with the feeling[s] of our infirmities,” then all of our sadness, all of our questions, all of our disappointments, all of our failures may be gathered up in his embrace.
Read the passage again for yourselves, maybe, today, and think it out.
Let us pray:
O God, we thank you for the Bible. We thank you that you are the everlasting God, a holy God, a faithful God, an incomprehensible God, ineffable, immortal, invisible, the only wise God. We are such tiny, little people. Forgive us our rebellious hearts. Help us in our sadness and in our questions. For we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
 Albert Einstein, “Mein Glaubensbekenntnis” [My Credo] (speech, German League of Human Rights, Berlin, 1932), quoted in Michael White and John Gribbin, Einstein: A Life in Science (New York: Dutton, 1994), 262.
 Acts 17:25 (ESV).
 Bruce Milne, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009), 100.
 Reginald Heber, “Holy, Holy, Holy” (1826).
 Matthew 6:30 (ESV).
 Jeremiah 14:22 (ESV).
 Jeremiah 14:22 (ESV).
 Michael Wilcock, The Message of Psalms 73–150: Songs for the People of God, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2001), 259–260.
 C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 6, Psalm CXX. to CL. (London: Marshall Brothers, 1881), 262.
 Psalm 127:3 (ESV).
 Brian M. Howard, “The Butterfly Song” (1974). Lyrics lightly altered.
 Matthew 6:27 (ESV).
 Matthew 6:34 (ESV).
 Romans 1:22–23 (paraphrased).
 George Wade Robinson, “I Am His, and He Is Mine” (1890). Lyrics lightly altered.
 Psalm 139:6 (ESV).
 Colossians 1:17 (ESV).
 Matthew 9:24 (paraphrased).
 John 11:11 (paraphrased).
 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (ESV).
 John Newton, “Amazing Grace” (1779).
 Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book of Hope (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2005), 73.
 Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34 (paraphrased).
 Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42 (paraphrased).
 Hebrews 4:15 (KJV).
Copyright © 2023, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.