Monthly Archives: February 2014

HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES – Part 4

Psalm 27:1-6

Verses 5-6 OUR COMFORT IN THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE

In verse 5 God Has A Sheltered Place For Us – David tells us that the Lord will hide him in His pavilion. A king’s pavilion was a tent that erected in the middle of the army’s encampment. The tent was then surrounded by an army of brave soldiers. With all the host of the army camped about, the king’s pavilion was the safest place on the battlefield. Those who were fortunate enough to be allowed to enter the king’s pavilion were protected by the soldiers and entertained by the king during the battle! The word “hide” means “to treasure away.”

As the battles of life rage about us, we are safely tucked away in our King’s pavilion. The Bible tells us that “your life is hid with Christ in God”, Col. 3:3! Could there be a safer place in all the universe? Of course not! Those who have entered His pavilion are protected by Him and, even while the battles rage around them, they are entertained with the peace and joy of the King Himself.  This is promise to those who will abide in that close place! No enemy can penetrate the defenses and enter this private place. It is protected from the enemy!

The assurance of His sheltering place allows us to weather the storms of life with hope. This was what allowed David to face Goliath. This was the confidence that kept Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. This was the assurance that gripped the heart of Daniel! This was the knowledge that allowed Paul to continue, even when he suffered greatly, 2 Cor. 12:7-11.  

Verse 5 God Has A Secret Place For Us – The word “tabernacle” brings to mind the place of worship. The “secret” refers to the “holy of holies”. That place which was off limits to all but the High Priest, and he could only enter there one day per year and the only with the blood of an innocent sacrifice. It was a place that other men entered under the penalty of death. 

Yet it is that secret place, to which God takes His precious friends. The Holy of Holies was a place where the very presence of God dwelt and the glory of God could be seen. It was there that God took David during the battles of his life. It was there David found himself shut up with God and shut off from the world around him. 

In a king’s home, this place referred to the private apartment of the king.  It was a place no one could enter unless they did so at his bidding. To do otherwise invited instant death.  The word “hide” means “to conceal”.

It is amazing that there is a place of solitude in a world filled with people. There is a place that you and I can flee to during the crushing battles that rage about us. A place that affords us quiet, peace and the profound presence of God. Those who have learned to abide in Him have been to that place and know the glory of it. It is a place where the enemy dares not follow. It is a place reserved for those who love the Lord their God. Have you ever been to that place? That place where God meets with you and you alone. That place where all else falls away and you are left with Him and Him alone? That is the place He invites those who abide to enter!

Stephen was in that place at the moment of his death, Acts 7:55-56! Paul was in that place during his life, 2 Cor. 12:1-4; Acts 27:23. It is possible for us to enter that sacred, secret place where the world dims away and God becomes larger than everything else!

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HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES – Part 3

Psalm 27:1-6

He Is Committed To Loving The Lord – David wants to “behold the beauty of the Lord.” That is, he wants to “seek His face.” You see, not only is David committed to being where the Lord is; but he is also committed to worshiping the Lord. That is a worthy goal for life!

This should be the goal of every believer as well. If we are going to worship the Lord, we are going to have to do it His way. Jesus told us how to worship in John 4:24. As we yield to the Spirit of God and worship God for Who He is as He is revealed in the Word of God, we will be engaged in the business of loving Him. How long has it been since you just loved on the Lord?

He Is Committed To Leaning On The Lord – David also expresses his desire to call upon the Lord; to commune with God; and to make requests of God. This is another image of worship. David here declares his utter dependence upon the Lord for the necessities of life.  David looks beyond his own abilities and sees the limitless provisions of the Lord. Therefore, he wants nothing more than to be able to call upon the Lord.

My, what a limitless resource we have been given in prayer! We are invited to pray, Jer. 33:3; Matt. 11:28. We are promised that God will hear and answer our prayers, Isa. 65:24; John 14:13-14; John 16:23-24. Therefore, let us also learn to lean upon Him! Instead of worry and fear, let us learn to turn to the Lord.  He will see to our needs, Phil. 4:6-7; 19. He will never fail us nor will He ever turn us away empty-handed, Matt. 7:7-11.

Our commitment to Him provides hope in the day of our battles. As we Linger near Him; Love on Him and Lean on Him, we can have the absolute confidence that He will see to our needs and to the things that would cause us to worry.

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HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES – Part 2

Psalm 27:1-6

Verse 2-3 Confidence In The Performance Of The Lord – David declares that his present hope in the Lord rests upon that which the Lord has done for him in the past. God did not fail him then, and He will not fail His child today.

That same confidence is ours today!  The God we serve is unchangeable, Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8. He is the same God with the same power that He has always been. He has never and He will never change. Because He has been faithful in the past, we can count on His being faithful now.

Think of all the things He has done; the victories He has won; the enemies He has vanquished; the mountains He has moved; the victories He has won. Think on these things and remember that the God who performed countless wonders in the past is still that same God today!  That should give His people hope!

In verse 4 OUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE

Not only does living with our faith give us hope; but also living faithful to the Lord provides a measure of hope that cannot otherwise exist.  David mentions three goals in this verse. These three goals all arise from a single commitment to serve the Lord faithfully from a heart of love. Notice how David’s commitment to the Lord manifests itself.

He Is Committed To Lingering Near The Lord – David wants to spend his entire life in the house of the Lord.  He wants to be in that place where the Lord dwells and where the Lord’s presence is real. This is a theme David repeated in Psalm 84:1-4.  There, David envies the little birds that make their nests around the tabernacle. They can be near the house of God all the time, while David cannot. He has a desire to be where God is; to be in that place where God is worshiped and honored. That is his heartbeat.

That ought to be our desire as well.  We need that same passion to be where the Lord is honored and where He is worshiped. Of course, we have the church and we are commanded to be in attendance, Heb. 10:25. But, I think there ought to be a desire to find that place of closeness and intimacy with the Lord. We can have that place where we can linger in His presence all the days of our lives. 

If there is a genuine desire to be near Him, it will manifest itself in clear action. There will be a commitment to prayer and to the study of the Word of God. There will be a commitment to public and private worship. Those who want to linger near the Lord will find a way.  And, when we make a move toward Him, He will make a move toward us, James 4:8.

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HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES

Psalm 27:1-6

Martin Luther said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

Here is how the dictionary describes hope. “to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.”

Hope from the world’s viewpoint is just what that definition describes.  The world sees hope as a wish or a desire. Hope for the world is a longing for something that may or may not take place.

The Bible teaches us a vastly different definition of hope. The words of Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is,” Jer. 17:7.  Hear also Paul, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity,” 1 Cor. 13:13. The world says that hope is merely a fond wish or desire. But, the words used for hope in the Bible tell a different story. 

They teach us that hope is “A deep settled confidence that God will keep His promises!”

I know we all have challenges; but do you have hope? Are you resting in the sure confidence that God will do just as He has promised He would? That is the essence of hope and hope is a possession we all need to be sure we own in large quantities. I want to look into these verses and share about Hope In The Midst Of Your Challenges. I want to show you from the words of David, why you and I have a reason to hope in the Lord. 

Notice with me where our hope comes from and what hope will accomplish in our lives.

Verses 1-3 OUR CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE

David begins his psalm of hope by declaring his personal faith in the Lord.  Notice the three-fold use of the word “my” in verse 1.  David has a personal relationship with God.  This is the basic foundation for hope.

Confidence In The Person Of The Lord – David tells us that God is his “light”, his “salvation” and his “strength.” There is a tremendous blessing in these three titles attributed to our God.

As Light, God delivers His people from Darkness – “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:,” Colossians 1:13. As Light God guides our Steps – (Psa. 37:23; John 16:13; Psa. 119:105)

As Salvation God delivers His people from Damnation – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life,” John 5:24. As Salvation God secures our Souls – (John 10:28; 1 Pet. 1:5; John 6:37)

As Strength God delivers His people from Defeat – “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. 15:57.  As Strength God guarantees our Success – (Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14; Isa. 54:17)

These three great characteristics of God serve to give us hope even in the midst of trouble. Because of Who our God is, we need not fear any enemy that should arise against us. Satan himself is no match for our sovereign God!

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The Sincerity of God


Psalm 12

The passage begins with a statement of lamentation, an expression of grief: “Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.” The writer is revealing an emotion. At least at the moment he wrote this, he loses sight of any remnant. His concerns is, Where are all the faithful people? Have they died? Have they ceased the activity of faith? Where are they? This is like a similar expression of sorrow written by Micah. “The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net,” (Micah 7:2).Nevertheless, it is the genuine emotion of godly people, as they become aware that their number and their way of life lies in demise.

I think God’s people today must feel this way, and at times the emotion may be this deeply felt. If we are God’s people, we place great value on behaviour expressive of honesty, personal purity, modesty, generosity, prayer, following the Scriptures, etc. But in our time we see these things either perverted, debated or ignored. And, as verse 8 declares: “vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” We often see what Isaiah saw (Isa. 59:4-9), or we observe the repulsive behaviours Paul documented in Romans 1. We are led by the sight of sin to complain that the faithful fail, the godly cease. Every child of God lives with the sad knowledge of the absence of godliness all around us.

The author defines what he saw that caused his grief: “They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; Who is lord over us’?” Likewise in verse 8: “The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” What people say reveals who they are, because the tongue is governed by the heart (Matt. 12:34).

The writer of Psalms 12 drew the conclusion, “the godly man ceases,” because he heard how people were talking – their conversation revealed their character. Falsehood uttered reveals falsehood within. Idle talk says the heart is idle. Boasting proves pride. And notice the claim of verbal victory and self-rule: “…We will prevail, who is lord over us?” The lamentation of verse 1 was justified by the speech and behaviour described in verses 2-4 and 8.

In verse 5, God replies to the complaint of the faithful. He says, “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise.” This is a reference to God’s promise to give relief to the victims of the sinful behaviour defined. God has never overlooked any real victim! He doesn’t check with us, as to when and how to react. We cannot dictate to God, set deadlines or demand that He use the methods we think best. But you cannot give the Bible a fair hearing and miss this truth. He comes to the rescue of those who are victims of the treachery of man. {In the gospel, there is the supreme evidence of God’s desire to deliver, even victims of their own sin! Rom. 5:6-8}. God responds to the writer’s call for help. He states His intent to arise and deliver the victims to safety.

If verse 5 is God’s promise to arise and help, verses 6 & 7 state the basis of our confidence in God’s word. “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tired in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O Lord, you shall preserve them from this generation forever.” Now we arrive at the point or theme I want to stress. Carefully observe the contrast between what men say and what God says! In this chapter, men speak idly, “with flattering lips and double heart.” Men use their tongues to exalt themselves, gain their vile purpose and thus reveal their evil purpose of heart. It was so bad, the writer said, “the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.”

But now, turn your attention from the vain talk of men to the words of the Lord. “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” You cannot place confidence in the idle talk of men. You cannot reply upon the promises of the proud; “with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.” But there is good reason for unwavering confidence in God and in what God says.

In those days metal was tried and purified with fire. A furnace would be dug in the earth, an intense fire built, to test and purify silver. The process was repeated until there was no doubt, the product was genuine silver. The point of the illustration is, the words of the Lord are “perfectly pure.” No falsehood mixed in; no empty flatter; no false promises; no guile or deception in even trace amounts! “The words of the Lord are pure words.”

So, in regard to the Lord’s promise to arise and rescue victims of man’s, there is the greatest confidence. “You shall keep them, O Lord, you shall preserve them from this generation forever.” The writer was sure God would save the victims, setting them in the safety for which they yearned.

Psalms 12 establishes the insincerity of man and the sincerity of God! When Paul wrote so fully to document the sin of man he quoted from the Psalms: “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit,” (Rom. 3:13). This is the insincerity of man. This is why, you cannot just follow where men may lead, without discernment. We must not blindly accept the religious teachings and practices of men. We cannot allow men to impose upon us their standards and creeds (whether the men are baptized or not). There are false teachers who by smooth words and flattering speech, deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18).

What we can do is, repose our souls in the hands of God. Everything is just exactly as God represents it. He “cannot lie,” (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). We can enjoy great and absolute consolation in the words of God. His promises can bring into our hearts, a real assurance that men try to imitate but cannot duplicate. The Word of God has no other purpose, no other design upon us, than to do us the highest eternal good. Psalm 12 marks the difference between the insincerity of man and the absolute sincerity of God. The sum total of divine truth was given for our good, but requires our response.

“What a contrast between the vain words of man, and the pure words of Jehovah. Man’s words are yea and nay, but the Lord’s promises are yea and amen. For truth, certainty, holiness, faithfulness, the words of the Lord are pure as well refined silver.

The Bible has passed through the furnace of persecution, literary criticism, philosophic doubt, and scientific discovery, and has lost nothing but those human interpretations which clung to it as alloy to precious ore. The experience of saints has tried it in every conceivable manner, but not a single doctrine or promise has been consumed in the most excessive heat.”

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Waiting on the Lord! Why Wait?

Psalms 62:1-8

A. God instructs us to wait for strength. Is. 40:31

B. He tells us to wait for provision. Ps. 62:5

C. He tells us to wait for direction. Pr. 3:5-6

D. We are even told to wait for God’s will to be accomplished. Heb. 10:36

How should we wait on God?

A. While we wait, supplicate. Ps. 40:1

1. Supplication means to ask God for specific needs.

2. Failure to pray while we wait is one reason why we sometimes wait without success.

Doing our best as Christians is telling God all our needs as we wait upon Him.

While we wait, saturate. Ps. 130:5

1. Saturate yourself with the Word of God by reading, studying, meditating, and learning His Word.

2. Study about God’s goodness.

Read about the wonderful things that God has done.

Spend some time counting your blessings.

Meditate on God’s great love.

3. Study about God’s promises: God has promised…

Salvation for the seeking sinner. Ro. 10:9-13, Jn. 14:6

Forgiveness when we are guilty. 1 John 1:9, Prov. 28:13

Strength when we are weak. Is. 41:10, Ps. 27:13-14

Comfort when we are in sorrow. Is. 61:1-2, Mt. 5:4

Grace when we are sick or suffering. 2 Co. 12:8- 10, Jas. 5:13-16

Protection when we are in danger. Ps. 27:5, 50:15

Courage when we are afraid. Ps. 46:1-2, 34:4

Peace when we are upset. Is 26:3

Rest when we are weary. Mt.11:28

Guidance when we face decisions.
Isaiah 58:11

Strength when we face temptation. 1 Co. 10:13

Provision when we have need. Phil. 4:19

Companionship when we are alone. Heb. 13:5

Encouragement when we are defeated. De. 33:27

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Waiting on the Lord

Psalms 62:1- 8

For most of us, we’d rather do anything than wait. That is the source of many problems for us. When we get impatient we sometimes move too quickly or in the wrong direction.

It is the same in our spiritual life, many times God wants us to wait, but we grow impatient. He wants us just to trust Him and wait for His guidance. When we can learn to wait on God, we will truly grow spiritually with each situation.

Some Biblical examples of those who waited on God.

Noah

1. He was told to build an ark.

2. He was to keep faith until it rained.

3. Noah waited many years for something he had never seen before–rain!

4. Through that experience he gained much: salvation for himself and his family.

5. He also learned that God is true to His Word!

These were some very valuable lessons learned only through waiting.
Job

1. He is described as being a man who was perfect and upright.

2. God allowed him to encounter physical suffering that only intensified with time.

3. He lost his children, his material wealth, his health and his friends.

4. He waited perhaps years before God delivered him from his calamities.

Abraham

1. He was called of God to father a great nation.

2. It took many years and many experiences before he learned to discipline himself and wait on God

3. He learned that God will keep His promises, but that we must learn to wait.

Joseph

1. Sold into slavery by his own brothers.

2. Falsely accused and sent to prison.
3. Forgotten and mistreated, he learned to wait and that God had a purpose.

Moses

1. Found himself on the back side of the Midian desert for forty years.

2. As he waited for God to use him, he learned well enough to later tell the people of Israel to “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Ex. 14:13

From the New Testament:

1. Jesus waited on God’s will.

2. The disciples waited in the upper room.

3. Paul waited for three years so his heart and mind could be prepared for what God had for him to do.

Waiting on God is the rule, not the exception, but waiting on God is not worrying!

Study about God’s power: this will help you to see that God is able to solve any problem you face or give you strength to face any problem.

Waiting on God involves trusting Him, reading His Word so we can listen to Him, praying to Him and resting in Him quietly. Are you a waiter? or a runner? Too often we run ahead of God, when we ought to be waiting on him.

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Do You Feel Abandoned By God?

Psalm 42

There are times we have no sense of God being anywhere near us, no matter how faithfully we worship, no matter how fervently we pray. At times like these it is easy to say, “If only God would give me some sign. If He would just speak to me once, anything, one sentence, two words.

When we have such an experience as this, must we conclude that either God is missing or our faith is faulty? Perhaps there is something else, another option. For it seems that even those people of profound faith and spiritual insight have felt abandoned by God from time to time. Wasn’t this the case for Job and Jeremiah and even Jesus who cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Listen to the words of the Psalmist in the scripture Psalms 42. Here there is no sign of either a quiet yet confident spiritual serenity or of a handclapping religious jubilation. What we do find are words of faith. However, it is a faith that has no smile attached to it.

This faith is not bright, light-hearted or at peace. To the contrary, it is uncomforted, miserable and unsatisfied. It is a faith that has uncertainty in it; it is marked by shades of doubt. It is a faith that hungers and thirsts for God and yet remains empty. “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for Thee, O God.” But the Psalmist is not nourished by God. Instead he laments, “My tears have been my food day and night.”

The experience of the Psalmist stands out in sharp contrast to that of Elijah. Remember the prophet Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal, to prove whether the pagan Baal gods or the God of Israel was the greatest? The prophets of Baal went through all manner of rituals in an attempt to get their gods to give a sign of power. Yet no matter how they tried to invoke their deities, it was to no avail. No amount of prayers, ceremonies or sacrifices made a bit of difference; the heavens remained silent and unmoved. Elijah taunted and mocked them for the impotence of their gods. And when his turn came to call upon the God of Israel to act, there was a prompt and overwhelming manifestation of divine power. No question about it, Elijah was the winner. His God was the one Living God. It was all so clear-cut.

But for the Psalmist and for us, the matter is not so obviously and decisively resolved. Unlike Elijah, this man found himself on the receiving end of the scorn and ridicule of his enemies. He writes, “As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?'” Unlike the great prophet, the Psalmist finds himself unable to call down fire from heaven in response to his unfriendly interrogators. Their tormenting questions aggravate the spiritual grief he already has and reinforce the anguished questions of his own heart. “When shall I come and behold the face of God? … I say to God, my rock: ‘Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?'” He finds his questions greeted with silence; the heavens do not stir.

We are afraid of pain, but more afraid of silence, for no nightmare of hostile objects could be as terrible as this void.” Indeed, and there is no void like that which is created by the silence of God. What can we do in the face of this distressing experience? Is any response possible and helpful? Perhaps we can take some clues from the Psalmist. First, it may be of some comfort to be mindful of the fact that the experience of the silence of God is a manifestation of faith, not unbelief. The Psalmist was a person with a deep yearning for God. The sense that God is far away is not a feeling reserved for rebels and reprobates. In fact it is often those who are most deeply religious who are the most sensitive to such experiences.

Though the Psalmist felt that God was distant and unresponsive, the very fact that he continued to pray was an affirmation of faith in the presence of God. It is important that we recognize that the feeling of the presence of God is not the same thing as the presence of God. The presence of God is not dependent upon our experience of this presence.

The feeling that God is absent may be the result of fatigue, depression, our emotional make-up or maybe just indigestion. Full void or empty void, these feelings actually tell us little or nothing about the real presence of God. We need to acknowledge that God is greater than our feelings. Like the Psalmist it is wise for us to keep addressing God in prayer, though we feel as if He is not near.

Third, while the Psalmist feels abandoned by God in the present, still he is able to recall the spiritual joy he experienced in the past and he sets his eyes forward in hope of a better future. He allows his memory to take him back to better days: “These things I remember as I pour out my soul; how I went with the congregation and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.” This memory gives him assurance that God can be known and His presence can be experienced in joy and gratitude.

This memory enables the Psalmist to rebuke his own excessive distress and then express confidence in a future of renewed faith. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”

This confession does not banish all gloom from the Psalmist’s life. In fact, in just a couple of verses he has a relapse of spiritual depression and must make his confession in hope once again. But the important thing is that he clings to God through his trials and inner struggles. And if we are to come through our dark and spiritually dry periods with our faith intact, it is important that we do the same.

We have no guarantee that we will never feel abandoned by God. But we do have a promise that God will be with us and we have the assurance that nothing “in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Acts 8:39). Our feelings may not always reverberate with this truth, but thank God, our inconsistent feelings do not alter the truth. So in times of our distress let us say with the Psalmist, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”

Do you want to Receive the Blessings of God?

psalm-13_5217_1024x768

Psalm 1:1-6 

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.   2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.  4 Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

The First step in God’s way of blessing is salvation. This is the message of the entire Bible.

  • There is no formula for blessing that does not begin with faith.
  • Faith is the foundation of Christian character and the security of the soul.
  • Faith in Christ is the basis of all working, all sanctification and all hope.
  • God is the great object of faith
  • Faith gives birth to prayer, to trust, to godly desire, and finally to blessing from God.

Psalm 1 assumes that salvation has already taken place: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (1-2).

True blessing comes from God

There are dangers for you who seek to walk in godly paths (v.1) “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”

The Devil is active and will put obstacles in your way.  He will use those who are his to hinder and hurt you.

The threefold danger: Walking, standing, sitting.

Walking in the counsel of the ungodly. The ungodly always are ready to give advice, to give counsel.

This may be in the form of literature.

This may be in the form of entertainment.

Talk shows, with secular opinions, solutions and their focus on self-esteem.

Radio shows that are full of secular psychology and opinions. In all of these, the secular world, mocks the true God.

Standing in the way of sinners – This does not mean standing against them, but with them, agreeing with them.

Sitting in the seat of the mockers – Those who mock, in their ignorance, the ways of God, adopting their attitudes.

The road of the scornful is always downward. Watch out for these dangers.  Notice the progression. Walking in the counsel of the ungodly.  Accepting advice. Standing in the way of sinners: being a party to its ways. Sitting in the seat of the mockers adopting its attitudes.

There is delight for those of you who seek to walk in godly paths (v. 2) “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

As a Christian you should have delight in the Word of God. The Christian has learned to make God’s Word his delight.

To some it is boring, but to you it is exciting.

To some it is dull, but to you it is delightful.

To some it is fantasy, but to you it is fact.

To some it is information, but to you it is inspiration.

But not many will make God’s Word their delight.

You must move against the tide to do this.

You must decide to be in the minority.

You must seek to make the Word delightful.

Study it; pray; hear the preaching of the Word; have faith in God’s Word.

David who wrote this Psalm had great delight in God’s Word. “For I delight in your commands because I love them” (Psalm 119:47).

“Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight” (Psalm 119:77).

There is a fruitful destiny for you who seek to walk in godly paths. (v. 3) “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

You will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. What a beautiful illustration.

The tree reaching down its roots into the stream drawing life from the water.

The river represents the Holy Spirit.

The tree mentioned here bears fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).

His leaf shall not wither (his testimony)

In whatsoever he does, he will prosper.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

There is only judgment for the ungodly.

“They will not stand in the day of judgment” v. 5.

Their end is damnation.

They are the chaff that is blown away by the wind, v. 4.

Do you see the difference between the blessed man and the ungodly?

  1. The ungodly are not blessed by God; they do not have delight in God’s Word, and they will not bear fruit by the Holy Spirit.
  2. The chaff which is with the grain until the wind blows, until the day of judgment, then comes the separation.
  3. The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment
  4. But you who are covered by the blood of Christ, to you there is blessing from God
  5. You will stand in the day of judgment.
  6. You will and do bear fruit.
  7. You will and possess blessing from the Holy Spirit.

When You Get a Raw Deal Part 5

Scripture: Psalm 73

Maybe you’re still struggling with the injustice you’ve been dealt and you’ve felt your commitment to God wane because of it. Before you bail out on God, Asaph wants you to sit with him and learn from his experiences. Consider this godly guidance when you get a raw deal.

I. Pour your heart out to God

This psalm is a brutally honest confessional, from the heart of Asaph to the God he felt had given him a rip off. He took his doubts and confusion to God in prayer. He didn’t pretend everything was okay. He did what Job did. Job was a righteous man who lost all his children, his possessions, and his health. In Job 29-31, this broken man struggles with the raw deal he received. He wrestles with the tension of holding onto God’s goodness and sovereignty while dealing the tragedies he was experiencing. And through it all, he stayed real with God. “God I’m so angry! I don’t understand what is happening or why! I want answers, God.” There is no record that God ever rebuffs Job for being honest.

In fact, God offers this invitation in Isaiah 43:26: “Take Me to court; let us argue our case together. State your [case], so that you may be vindicated.” Psalm 145:18 adds that “the Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”

God is big enough to take your anger, your pain and your questions. So go ahead, tell Him about it. Don’t keep those emotions cooped up inside you, building layers of resentment and hardship between you and God. Stored up anger vents itself in headaches, ulcers, bitterness, resentment, private rehearsals of the injustice you’ve experienced and outbursts of anger that are disconnected from the real problem. Unload that acid. God is waiting to talk with you.

II. Weigh your choices carefully

In v. 12-14, Asaph’s envy had so taken his heart that he was fed up with living a godly life. He was angry and disillusioned. Still, in v. 15, he stops to consider the impact his next steps will have: “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ I would have betrayed your children.” Asaph realized that if he went public with his inner struggles, letting his cynicism and anger out in words, he would become a tool of Satan’s for the ruin of God’s people.

How many rash words and unsifted actions have we wished to take back because of the negative consequences they brought about? We do things that brought regret and heartache because we didn’t stop to consider the consequences of our words and choices. Asaph paused to realize that his decisions will have ripple effects on others. I would urge you to follow his example, tracing the results your words and actions have on your family, friends, lost acquaintances and church.

III. Get the big picture

Here is where Asaph’s perspective is expanded. Listen to his words in v. 16-17: “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Asaph went to “church.” He brought his confusion under the truth of God. As long as Asaph tried to reason his way out of his troubled perception apart from God, he would hit his head against the wall. “It was oppressive to me,” he said. The envy he had of the wicked was like blinders to his eyes. All he could only see their immediate pleasure.

But in worship we see from God’s infinite perspective. You can sense this music director’s relief when he comes to worship. Everything changed. In the sanctuary God was his focus, not his problems. There he was reminded of God’s attributes, character and power. He could see both God’s judgment of sin as well as God’s solution offered to sinners. Eternity broke into his temporal perspective.

Verses 17-19 show us that Asaph was now seeing things differently. “Then I understood their final destiny. Surely You place them on slippery ground; You cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! Their prosperity is only temporary. They enjoy their sin for a time, perhaps from a human perspective for a lifetime. But from the perspective of eternity, from the point of view in worship, there is a quick ride to the bottom. Asaph realized that “the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17) God completely controls their destiny, not them. And their end will be terrible.

IV. Renew your relationship with God

Armed with a new perspective about God and this world, Asaph also sees himself clearly. Envy had poisoned him and had powerful effects on him. Listen to his confession in v. 21 “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” God, I was like an animal. What does he mean by this? Well have you ever watched your dog? Rover is only concerned with the immediate. He’s not thinking about tomorrow. His big concern is immediate gratification. Asaph confessed his self-pitying, self-centered bent. And then, in worship, he renews his relationship in praise:

Yet I am always with you; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

Asaph takes his raw deal to the right place and finds out that he didn’t have it bad after all. With an eternal perspective, everything looks different. God wants to do that for you.

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