Heritage Message October 2004
Thanks, Praise, Trust!
- today is thanksgiving.
- a few weeks ago - crops underwater, kept raining, I wondered how easy it would be to have a thanksgiving celebration.
- perhaps you have had a thanksgiving celebration after a loss or trial.
- How do we give thanks when life is hard?
Psalm 31 - contains a lament - “I am in distress”
- ends in praise - “Praise be to the Lord.”
- not unusual for Psalms,
- middle of the Psalm - a lament.
- on either side - a statement of trust
- beginning and near the end - a prayer.
- a word of thanksgiving and praise
- an invitation.
- teaches us how to come to thanksgiving from difficulty.
- Psalm of David
- what situation?
- written to be used in worship
- it is “entirely suitable for use by any person in distress, whether threatened by enemies, idolaters, or sickness and nearness of death.”
I. Lament 9-13
- verses 9,10 - “Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.”
- situations of distress:
- strength failing, of affliction, of enemies, of being forgotten, of slander and of conspiracy.
- what situation of distress have you found in your life?
- on a day in June 1971, my dad had surgery to find out what was wrong with him. I phoned home to see how it had gone - He has 4-6 months, I innocently asked - till he is better? But it was not like that.
- loss of a loved one? Discovery of illness? Chronic illness? Loss of ability?
- expressions of distress
- “my eyes grow weak with sorrow.”
- our eyes grow weak because of all the crying. - Heidi
- grief that comes fills one’s whole being
- “my soul and my body with grief.”
- trials which are physical.
- strength failing because of affliction
- bones that have grown weak.
- “my life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning,”
- impact on the emotional and spiritual well-being as well.
- “I am forgotten by them as though I were dead.”
- loneliness, no friends.
- “the slander of many”
- subject of gossip?
- David’s situation of conspiracy - Saul, Absalom.
- sometimes life is like that - difficulty, lament.
- But the Psalm does not stay at lament
II. Trust 6-8, 14
Surrounding the lament are expressions of trust.
A. Expressions Of Trust
- verses 6-8,
- “I trust in the LORD”
- verse 14
- “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
B. Reasons To Trust
- not a blind trust,
- if we had a friend who had the means to help us and cared about us, would we not rest in his care?
- that is God!!
- mention of “worthless idols” in verse 6.
- God is not an empty idol, a piece of wood or stone.
- the living God who has created all things.
- He has the power to help.
- made the heavens and the earth by a word.
- also loves us.
- Verse 7 - “I rejoice in your love.”
- God saw his affliction and knew the anguish of his soul.
- knows when we are in trouble,
- knows our heart,
- the character of God, the reason to trust.
- We too can put our trust in God for these same reasons.
III. Prayer 1-5, 15-18
- how do we bring together the experience of afflictions and trust in God?
A. The Psalmist’s Prayer
- verses 1-5
- Vs. 1 - “In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge.”
- Vs. 2 - “Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.”
- Vs. 3 - “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”
- Vs. 5 - “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.”
- verses 15-18,
- Vs. 15 - “My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.”
-Vs. 16 - “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”
- Vs. 17 - “Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I have cried out to you;”
- Where else can we go, but to God,
- to seek Him as the one who is our refuge.
- watch a child in a room full of strangers - eyes fixed on mother.
That is us - eyes fixed on God.
IV. Praise 19-22
Begin with distress; trust in God; pray…
A. Praise To God
- verses 19-22,
- expressions of thanks to God for all he has done and praise for His goodness.
- Vs. 19 - “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”
- Vs. 21 - “Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.”
B. Praise For Answered Prayer
- What happens when we bring our laments to God in prayer?
- He answers our prayers
vs. 1 Vs. 19 -
- God is sought as refuge for God’s goodness, refuge
vs. 18 Vs. 20 -
- verbal attacks protects from conspiracies
vs. 16 Vs. 21 -
- unfailing love reveals lovingkindness
vs. 2 Vs. 22
- turn your ear to me God heard prayer
- There are times when we doubt that God is there.
- keep our eyes open and wait
- he answers prayer and then we can praise Him.
C. Praise Today
- When Jesus hung on the cross, He quoted this Psalm.
- Luke 23:46, “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ Vs. 5
- Psalmist - deliverance from death.
- Jesus - deliverance through death to a life beyond,
- Because Jesus prayed this and received his answer, we are also able to recognize the same kind of deliverance.
- praise God for the hope he gives us in this life and that He will see us through death to eternal life.
- Although God allows us to lament, he invites trust - prayer - praise & thanksgiving.
- Psalm concludes with two invitations
- 23 -“Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.”
- encouragement to love God for all His acts
- take time to give thanks for all the ways we have experienced His deliverance, His help, His blessings.
- 24 - “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”
- encouragement to hope even in difficulty.
- give thanks because God is there.
- Even if you are in the midst of trial, trust, pray and give thanks to God.