Psalms 138 – 145 The eight prayer Psalms of David


This weeks sermon posed a number of group questions so the uploads have been split into 3 parts which are included below:

Psalm 145

1 He Looks to God

V1 “I will… I will” V3 “Great…” V5 “I will meditate…”

AI – Artificial Intelligence.

AI is now so complex its creators can’t trust why it makes decisions.

Artificial intelligence is seeping into every nook and cranny of modern life. AI might tag your friends in photos on Facebook or choose what you see on Instagram, but materials scientists and NASA researchers are also beginning to use the technology for scientific discovery and space exploration.

But there’s a core problem with this technology, whether it’s being used in social media or for the Mars rover: The programmers that built it don’t know why AI makes one decision over another.

From : Quartz – Dave Gershgorn · Dec 7, 2017


1 Will computers eventually get so intelligent they will pray? 


2 Can you think of something that sets us apart from other creatures, and from artificial intelligence that shows us to be human?


The proverbial phrase ‘To err is human’ is often heard in its fuller form ‘To err is human; to forgive, divine.’. This makes sense of the notion that the originator, the English poet Alexander Pope, was trying to convey. In the poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II , 1711. Pope explains that, while anyone can make a mistake, we should aspire to do as God does, that is, show mercy and forgive sinners:

Alexander Pope – to err is human

Ah ne’er so dire a Thirst of Glory boast,
Nor in the Critick let the Man be lost!
Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join;
To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.

Note that Pope’s original wording uses the word ‘humane’ rather than, as it is now usually spelled, ‘human’. This wasn’t a spelling mistake, nor have we misunderstood the poet’s meaning, just that ‘humane’ was the accepted spelling of ‘human’ in the early 18th century.

[from: The Phrase Finder]

This psalm is a hymn to God. This Psalm was composed with care. We know that from the structure as it is an alphabetic acrostic. This is something intended to be used in worship but also to engage the mind of the believer. The Psalmist was composing something to be used in worship. Why to we sing or pray? Because it is part of what it is to be human.

I think one feature of being human is to worship. A worshipper knows that they are not God. Perhaps that is the limitation and the danger of AI. They will not be able to worship and they will not know they are not God. See verse 7, could AI ever joyfully sing to God because his goodness is abundant?

Make a list of the words that describe what God is.

3 Great, worthy
4 Mighty acts, glorious, splendour
7 Goodness, righteousness
8 Compassionate, slow to anger, rich in love
9 Good to all, compassionate over all creation
13 Reigning eternally, faithful, loving
16 Provides
19 Fulfills desires, hears
20 Watches.

2 He Looks to the Future

Question: A phrase used by some preachers is that the church is always one generation from extinction. What do you think about that saying? Do you think it is true?

The psalmist looked back. As we look at this psalm we too are looking back. We are now in the period of advent, the weeks approaching the celebration of Christmas. This celebration is looking back. Yes there is the anticipation of the day of celebration, Christmas Day with it’s gifts, food and whatever else is part of your tradition. But we largely tell the account of what happened long ago.

Is this the gospel we are meant to declare? Our gospel is an invitation to step into the future as a new creation, with a new friend, with a new hope. As we look at the past let us remind ourselves of the future, the second coming of Jesus.

The psalmist also looked ahead. Verse 4, “One generation”.

There are two reasons that we can say it is not true that the church is always one generation from extinction. The Church Triumphant is unending. The Church Militant is secure.


See Matthew 16:18

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

I am not a robot, I am not AI. I will be human. I may err but I will look for forgiveness and aim to forgive. I will worship and live in anticipation of my future.

This week:

What shall I do to express my human-ness?

  • I will worship.
  • I will be conscious of God.
  • I will try and live a lifestyle that encourages the right sort of questions.

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