Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Praise, Power and Peace In the Psalms #3: All in Thee Psalms 31

All In Thee Text: Psalms 31

Introduction: Let me tell you about a young man I met in a nursing home in Texas, his name was Thomas. Thomas was in his early thirties, he would come to our Bible studies we had each Thursday. I got to know Thomas and found out why he was the youngest resident in the nursing home. At one time, a few years earlier, he had been a healthy man with a young wife and a 5 year old son. He ran his own business and owned his home. He was doing well enough financially that he had already paid off his home. He had a new car, a new boat and a new Harley Davidson motorcycle, which he often rode without bother to wear a helmet and sometimes after drinking a few beers.
On one of those occasions, Thomas lost control of the bike and crashed into a telephone pole. His unprotected head head took a direct hit. When I knew him you could still see the imprint of the pole in his skull, it had been caved in and had healed that way. He was rushed to the hospital after the accident and there on the operating table eight times his heart stopped and he had to be resuscitated. As a result of the accident Thomas, lost most of his mental abilities, if you met him you would think he was mentally handicapped with the mind of a 10 or 12 year old, yet he still had all his memory of what he had lost. The operations, rehabilitation, and nursing home costs had taken everything away from him. He lost his job, his home, his car, his boat and of course the motorcycle was already gone. His wife had left him and had taken his son. The one thing that had happened that was good in Thomas’ life is that in that nursing home, after his accident, he had found the Lord and become a child of God. I remember wanting to ask Thomas a question. I wanted to ask, considering all that he had lost and the one thing he had gained, how He felt about his life. I was really afraid of the answer that he might tell me how bitter he was and how much he wished God had just let him die. But one day I did ask and Thomas looked up at me from his wheelchair and said, “Better now than before.”
How can someone come through great difficulty and pain, and come to that conclusion? Can we like my friend, Thomas know that because God is with me, it will always be better now than it was before.” Turn to Psalms 31. This was the Palms that Thomas would ask me to read every time I wheeled him back to his room. It was his favorite Psalms because it described his own experiences with God. So turn to Psalms 31 and let us look at another person, David The King of Israel, who understands this truth.

Trust In Thee Psalms 31: 1-8

Psalm 31:1-8 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room. 

David looks to God’s past help.

His plea in verse 1-5. In Thee do I put my trust.
Not in a cause or a mantra or an idea but in the person of God and in the promises of God.
He says, Thou art my strong Rock and fortress. For thy names sake lead me and guide me. Thou art my strength.
Why could David put his trust in God now?
Because in the past he had committed his spirit, his soul, into God’s hand.
The word commit means to deposit or leave in owns care, to give in trust or charge, to place in another’s custody.
In other words, David completely gave himself over to God. He deposited himself, all that he was and all that he was going through, into the First Universal Trust Company of Jehovah.
He knew that God had redeemed him. He belonged to God because he had been purchased by God’s love. David had been bought back, repurchased from sin to serve God.
Because of God’s care and deliverance in David’s past, he was not afraid to trust God even more, now in the present in an even worse situation.

Will You Trust God Today?

We must do as David did, commit ourselves, deposit ourselves in the care and keeping of God.
When I deposit money in my bank I believe that what I have placed there is safe, I don’t worry about that money. It is safer there than it would be if I had kept it with me. To make through our present troubles I must deposit myself, my worries, my fears, my failures into God’s hands. Those worries, fears, doubts, troubles, pain and guilt all must be committed to God. He will take care of those things better than I ever could.
This begins for us, as it did for David, at redemption. You have been redeemed, bought back, by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who died for us on Calvary.
1 Peter 1: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
He has paid the price with his own life’s blood. We must accept his death in our place and accept the gift of forgiveness? My soul and my eternity must be committed to God. I must Trust In Thee.

Illustration: Hosea and Gomer, redemption of a runaway wife and slave.

Transition: David could trust God now in his troubles, because in the past he had committed himself to God and had experienced the redemption of God. After declaring that trust, he next calls our to God For Mercy From Thee.

Mercy From Thee Psalms 31:9-18

Psalm 31:9-18 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake. Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

David Intensifies His Plea for Help

He calls out Oh, God have mercy on me. Vs. 9
He says, troubles have caused his strength to utterly collapse. Vs 10-12
Yet in that terrible weakness, that collapse of David’s own strength, he has been brought to the place where he calls out to God for mercy Vs. 14-15
He says, “My times are in your hands.” David sees his life’s boundaries completely in God’s hand Vs 15. He understands that God’s help, at that moment, will determine his life or his death.

Will Trouble Drive Us Deeper or Away from God’s Love?

One reason God allows trials and troubles is that we might become weak in ourselves but strong in Him.
We see this in Paul’s thorn in the flesh.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I must choose whether my pain and troubles drive me away from Jesus or if instead my suffering drives me into the arms of Jesus. For it is there, in the arms of our Savior that we will find comfort and help from the One who suffered for us all.
It is Jesus who truly knows suffering, Jesus who took on the pain of the world, was tortured, persecuted, tormented, humiliated and died on the cross willingly embracing that pain. He endured separation from His Father, as our sins were place upon Him. He cried out, “Father, what hast thou forsaken me? Jesus understands the sorrows, fear and hurt I’m going through and it is to, not away from Jesus, I must flee. In His love, I will find solace for my scars, peace for my pain and comfort for my cares.
May my troubles bring me to the place where like David I accept and find hope saying “Dear God, my life’s boundaries are in your hand. It is only by you that I live or die and I am strengthened in that knowledge.”

Illustration: Poem, Pressed Out.

Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length. Pressed so intensely it seems beyond strength; Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul, Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll; Pressure by foes, and pressure by friends, Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends. Yet, Pressed into loving the staff and the rod, Pressed into knowing no helper but God; Pressed into liberty where nothing clings, Pressed into faith for impossible things, Pressed into living a life in the Lord; Pressed into living a Christ-life out poured! - Walter B. Knight
Transition: So we see that we must put our trust in God, we must call out for His mercy in our time of pain and trial and what we do next may come as a surprise. Once again we look at David’s example and we see that he began to praise his God. 

Praise Unto Thee Psalms 31:19-24

Psalm 31:19-24 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. 

David Praises God for his Deliverance Even Before it Comes

Even before he experiences the help he so desperately needed, David praises God for it.
He says in vs 19, That that help is already laid up, it is already available to them that fear (worship, reverence) God.
Notice also he says, “Which thou hast wrought” in the past tense. In other words it is already finished, its already stored up and just waiting to be poured out to God’s people.
I remember a song that a long gone Baptist preacher used to sing. His name was Lester Roloff and he pastored and ran a children’s home down in Corpus Christi, Texas. I don’t remember all the song but I do remember his crackling, gravely voice singing the chorus, “Hold on a littler longer, hold on a little stronger. The testing of the Lord are pure gold. He’ll take your through the fire. He’ll drive out the dross and mire. Hold on a little longer, hold on. The answer that you’ve prayed for it’s on its way and paid for. Hold on a little longer, hold on.”
David goes and makes the profound statement of faith, “Thou, shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence.” What can you say about a phrase like that except only the Holy Spirit could have inspired such a beautiful phrase and, “Please, Oh Lord, let me know it’s reality in my life.”
David even admits even his doubts when he was praying, he says, “In my haste,” but even that was not enough to stop the loving kindness of God.
He concludes in vs 23-24 Love the Lord all ye his saints be of good courage, and he shall strengthen you heart.

Will we Praise Him Until His Help Comes?

Do we trust him that much? We should, he has proven himself in the past. He has shown himself to be stronger even than our doubts. He has never forsaken His own and has promised to always be with us.
Will you this morning, love Him. Weill you be of good courage? For if you will then just as it was for David it will be for us and we will experience the strengthening of our heart.
If we can praise Him in the midst of our doubts, trust Him in the midst of our pain then like Paul we can say,
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Reckon means reconciled, Paul looks at both sides of the ledger, the deficits and the deposit and concludes there is no comparison. He looks at back at his own life at the deficits of pain, sorrow, deprivation, troubles, discrimination and suffering, and he compares those to the deposits of forgiveness, joy, peace, eternal life in heaven and a friend who stays closer than a brother in Jesus Christ, and he says there is no comparison. In fact, it is not ever worthy to make this comparison. All that God gives overwhelms all that the world takes. All that God blesses us with completely covers all that the world curses us with. Eternal life has overtaken eternal death, grace has defeated unbelief and mercy has extinguished judgment. How can I do anything but praise God even in the midst of my troubles and pain? 

Mike Hilliard Feeling Sorry for Me

I began by telling you about Thomas a young man in a nursing home, whose life had been torn apart but after that destruction he found the Lord and it was “better now than before.” Let me conclude this sermon my telling you about Mike Hillard. Who died of cancer at only 23 years old. His family were members of our church. Attended pretty regularly but not every service. Good people, who loved the Lord but not what I would describe as really dedicated to the Lord’s church or work. This family had a history of cancer, a mother who had contracted it, an aunt and now just as his adult life was starting Mike. He went into the hospital, received the treatments, came home and the doctors even said his cancer was in remission, for a about a year or so. But then it returned, and it was aggressive, and Mike was put in the hospital and told he would not go home again. It was devastating to his family that had already suffered so much loss from this disease. I was a youth pastor at the time and I would go with my pastor, who was also my uncle to visit Mike on his deathbed.
It was a hard visit for me to make as a young pastor, mostly because at that time Mike and I were the same age. And I wondered if Mike felt it was unfair that I should be healthy and with a wife and my children going to college while he was struggling to breathe. I remember telling my uncle maybe I shouldn’t go. Maybe it would make him feel worse.
My discomfort might have shown on one of those visits because Mike looked at me and said in his now halting breaths, “I feel sorry for you.” Well that was not what I thought he was going to say. I really had no idea why he would say that, so I asked him, “Why would you feel sorry for me?” He looked at me, took a deep breath, smiled and said, “Because I’m going to see Jesus before you.”
I had 2 years of Bible college behind me at the time and Mike didn’t even go to Sunday School most weeks, but that day, Mike knew more about Jesus laying on that hospital bed than I knew after two years of studying books. He knew because in his pain, sickness and doubts, he had committed himself in trust to God and he had experienced God hiding him in the secret of His presence. He could praise God even in his dying because he knew God had laid up eternal life for him and suffering can’t compare to salvation, cancer can’t compare to contentment and 20 years on earth can’t compare to eternity in the glory of heaven.

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