Sunday, July 19, 2009

Psummer Psalm Pseries - Psalm 40: Out of the Pit


1I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.
2He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.
4How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
5Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.
6Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
7Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart."
9I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, You know.
10I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.

I grew up in Christian Service Brigade, and so spent a lot of time doing outdoor stuff, learning about the woods and bike repair and the stuff of life. So, as a dad, I want my kids to have that same kind of experience. We are starting up a Treks program this fall, a beginning program of CSB. But I was in a store another day and I saw one of those science learning kits you get for kids. It was called “how to make quicksand”. Now I ask you… is that really one of those skills I want Benjamin to learn. “Here, son, learn how to make quicksand!” I can imagine when he hits puberty and gets dumped by his first girlfriend because she wants to go out with the quarterback. The next day the quarter back goes out the front door and crosses his lawn for school when, bingo, he falls into a pit of quicksand. I mean, where is a kid going to use that kind of knowledge?

Quicksand is one of those things that once you are in, the more you move the worse it gets. If you panic you sink. But panicking is natural. When you get stuck and it feels like something has grabbed your foot and leg, your reaction is to try to jerk it out, to fight it.

Has life ever felt that way? You get into a situation and no matter what you do, you just seem to be making it worse. You get yourself more stuck. Listening to a Christian radio talk show yesterday got me thinking about our situations. The question was what do I do, I’m not hearing from God.

I don’t know your circumstances and the details of your life, but I do know the first thing you need to be encouraged with is patience. Right at the beginning of this Psalm we read David saying I patiently waited. He was anointed as king but did not take that position for many years! He was chased around the country by Saul for a long time, and you can get the sense of “When will this ever end?” Be patient because you know God hears. His salvation is coming. He promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will not allow you to be destroyed, He has a way for you. 2 Corinthians 4 talks about how so much of life can come against you, but God is bigger than any of it. Claim these first couple of verses for yourself before God today: I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

The second thing I encourage you to do is share your testimony. What has God done for you? Have you told anyone? One of the neatest things about new Christians is their excitement, their joy. God has just done a miracle in their life and they want people to know. They want others to have the same experience as they did. All to often in the church decades old Christians roll their eyes at each other and think, “They’ll get over that. Just give them time.” What a sad commentary about our relationship with the Creator of the ends of the earth. One morning you are sitting there eating Fruit loops or oatmeal thinking about the day ahead of you and the door bell rings. You open it and there is the queen. What do you do? “Oh, Hi Lizzy. I wasn’t really expecting you, but, I guess if you want you can come in. That crown is a bit too shiny this early in the morning isn’t it?” I would hope that if the queen took time out for you, you would be quite excited to spend as much time with her as you could, and the minute she left, the MINUTE she left, you would be on the phone or on the computer tweeting about it to everybody you knew. You meet Jesus, you ask Him if He’ll help you with that problem with your friend, and He does. Aren’t you excited when your prayers are answered? You need to tell others what Jesus is doing today for you.

Hear what David says in verse 3: “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.” The answered prayer puts a song in his life, and as a result of that testimony many will will turn to God. That is a huge part of how God wants to use all of us. When is the last time you told someone something that God did for you? Don’t let another day go by without you doing that.

The third thing I want you to be encouraged to do is to remember. In my relationship with Bonnie we have worked hard not to use superlatives when we are frustrated. Have you ever heard someone say, “You never…” or “You always do that…” when it is just emotion speaking. Perhaps you are feeling isolated and alone, and so you say, “You are never around!” when the person is around a fair bit. When we allow those emotions to speak, we forget about all the times when the person was there and just erase them with a 5 letter word. SO when times are tough and God seems far, we may want to say to Him that He is never around, or has never been close. Don’t go there; instead remember your journey with Him. Remember also His journey with Israel and the early Church. He is heavily involved in humanity. David encourages us in verse 5: “5Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.” These are John’s words in his gospel when he says if I were to try to write all the things that Jesus did there wouldn’t be enough books in the world to finish it. Write milestones in the back of your Bible, so that when you are down you can look in there and see the date you first met Him; the day he answered that prayer about the car; the day He sanctified you anew; the day He just said to you out of the blue, “I love you, you are mine.”

Lastly, I encourage you to follow Him. Be obedient to the things He has called you to do and to be. The place to start is the being part. Israel was heading for the promised land. They were going to a land of riches and plenty. God taught them in several different ways the kind of people He wanted them to be so that when they got there, they would be able to handle the responsibility and task at hand. He taught them to rely on Him. He taught them to focus on the needs of the present and let God worry about the future. He taught them that holiness was the most important thing, and that included loving your neighbour. In fact, one of the biggest indicators of holiness is the kind of love you showed the people around you.

You know what? That hasn’t changed. David said way back then it wasn’t about the sacrifices and offerings; it was about the obedience. What David says in verse 8 sums it up nicely: “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart." Your Law is within my heart. DO you remember what the Law is? It is the revelation of God; it represents the very character of God. So David is saying that it is all about having God’s character in our life. We say it today with the phrase “Christ-like”. That is our “big-picture” purpose - to be more like Jesus.

Four things: Patience, Testimony, Remember, and Follow. Stick to it. Don’t give up. But don’t be satisfied with an old faith. Don’t be satisfied with a faith that has to go back 5, 10, or 30 years to share what Jesus has done for you. He wants to meet you each day; He wants to chat with you through His Word and the people around you. Be current in your faith with both confession and repentance as well as praise and worship. Don’t let the church just be some dry, boring experience. It should be an organism full of life. You are the ones that give it life. If you don’t or won’t or can’t, no one else will. Take some time and read through this Psalm this week. Let God encourage you through it.

1 comment:

Koala Bear Writer said...

I think I'm still stuck back at "being patient" - that's not easy. :) I like youre suggestion to remember what God has done in our lives.