Thank God for Teachers!

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Thank God for Teachers!

Psalm 34:1-22

Sermon by: Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - August 11, 2013

*Thank God for teachers. Most of us could stand up right now and say how much we were blessed by the good teachers in our lives. Godly school teachers are one of the greatest sources of light in our society today.

*But thank God also for the Godly men and women who teach us in church.

-Week after week they help us grow closer to the Lord, and to each other.

-Week after week they help us grow spiritually through the Word of God.

*I've had some tremendous Bible teachers in my life. One of the best was Dr. Charles Harvey, who went home to be with the Lord in 2003. Dr. Harvey was a wonderful man of God. He once preached a revival for us at Emmanuel in West Monroe. By that time Dr. Harvey had gone through prostate cancer and critical heart problems. They thought they had lost him after heart surgery down in Houston. But by the grace of God, he bounced back and continued to serve the Lord for several more years.

*One day during the revival, we talked about prayer, and Dr. Harvey said this: "I suppose I've gotten to the point in my life that I talk to the Lord now more than anyone else." He wasn't making a boast or a brag. There wasn't a hint of pride in his voice. Dr. Harvey was just making a matter of fact statement of his walk with the Lord. And he was an inspiration to me.

*Thank God for teachers! King David is an inspirational teacher for us in Psalm 34. In vs. 11, David said, "Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord." And as we take a closer look at this Psalm, we can see some of the best things teachers do for us.

1. First, teachers help us be willing to worship the Lord.

*I hope nobody had to drag you to church this morning. God wants us to be willing in our worship. The Lord wants us to have the same heart David had in vs. 1-3, where he said:

1. I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.

3. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.

[1] Notice that our worship here includes praise.

*In vs. 1 David said, "I will praise the Lord all the time!" That means in the good times, and in the bad.

*David knew about bad times. The introductory note to this Psalm takes us back to one of David's hardest times. The NIV introduction says this is a Psalm of David "when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left."

*David's low point here started with one of the highest points in his young life: The day he killed Goliath the giant. That ten-and-a-half- feet-tall warrior had been terrorizing the whole Jewish army. And David's victory made him a hero to his people. But it also made his own king insanely jealous.

*King Saul was so jealous that he tried to kill David with a spear two different times. Then Saul hunted for David all over the country. Finally, in weary desperation, David made a terrible decision: He would go where Saul would never reach him. He would go to Goliath's home town, and seek asylum from the Philistine king.

*Guess what the king's servants did as soon as they realized who David was? They grabbed him and took him to their king. David was out of the frying pan and into the fire, so 1 Samuel 21 tells us that David:

13. . . changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.

14. Then Achish said to his servants, "Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me?

15. Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?''

1. David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. . . (1 Samuel 21:13-22:1)

*David wrote this Psalm 34 sometime after his escape from the people in Gath. Maybe he was still hiding out in that cave, and maybe Saul was still trying to kill him. But David said, "I'm going to praise the Lord anyway!" And in vs. 3, he invites us to join in: "Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together."

*David teaches us here that our worship includes praise.

[2] It also includes prayer.

*And David teaches us a lot about prayer in vs. 4-7. He gives us tremendous reasons to pray.

{1} In vs. 4 he teaches us that when we pray, God will free us from fears: "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."

{2} Next in vs. 5, David teaches us that when we pray, God will send His light into our lives. So vs. 5 says: "They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed."

*God wants His Light to shine so much in and through us that our faces shine with His radiance. That's why we gave those little glow-in-the-dark crosses to the children this morning. We want them all to look to the Lord and shine.

{3} Next in vs. 6&7, David teaches us that when we pray, God will help us with our hardships:

6. "This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them."

*When we trust in the Lord, we are surrounded with His help. And vs. 6 reminds us that we don't have to be rich or famous to get His attention.

*One day years ago, I was driving up 165 with Becky and Eric. She was about 15 and he was about 12. As we drove by, we noticed that they were tearing down the old Ramada Inn. It's kind of sad when they tear down your honeymoon hotel. Well, Eric started thinking about the fact that we had our honeymoon in Monroe, and he asked: "Were y'all poor back then?" Becky answered: "Yeah. -- They were dirt poor!"

*Well, maybe we were, but it didn't seem like it. And you can have all the money in the world, and still lack the most important things: Faith, hope and love, comfort, rest and consolation. So whether we have ten dollars or ten million dollars, we will still have needs.

*Whatever the need is in your life, take it to the Lord in prayer. And thank God for teachers who help us pray and praise and worship the Lord.

-Teachers help us be willing to worship God.

2. They also help us be wise in our witness.

*King David was a strong witness for the Lord. One great example is in vs. 8-10, where David urges us:

8. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

9. Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.

10. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

[1] David was a strong witness for the Lord, and he teaches us to witness with our words.

*David said: "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!" Anyone who knows Jesus can make that plea, because we have tasted, and we know that He is good. Jesus Christ is far, far better that anything this world could ever offer. He is good!

*Really, He is the only One who ever was good. Jesus Christ was good enough to love us, good enough to die on the cross for us, and good enough to save our souls forever. And He will, if we will receive the witness of vs. 8: "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"

*God wants us to witness with our words like that.

[2] But He also wants us to witness with our works.

*That's why in vs. 11-14, David teaches us how to live:

11. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12. Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good?

13. Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking guile.

14. Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it.

*It makes a big difference how we live! God wants us to live righteous and holy lives, filled with light and love. And teachers help us get there.

*Thank God for teachers! They help us be wise in our witness.

3. They also help us be saved from our sin.

*In vs. 11-14, David taught us how we ought to live. Then in vs. 15-17, David shows us how important this Godly lifestyle is:

15. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.

16. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

*But what are we to do when we fall short? -- And we will. David certainly did. Remember the background story from 1 Samuel 21. David was running for his life from the jealous King Saul. And before he foolishly went down to Goliath's home town, David went to the priest to get bread and a sword.

*But David lied to get those things. Listen for the lies in 1 Samuel 21:2, where David said this to the priest: "The king has ordered me on some business, and said to me, 'Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.' And I have directed my young men to such and such a place."

*John Phillips noted that David told four different lies here with just one breath! (1)

*Sounds like David had gotten some practice lying, and the day would come when David would do far worse than just tell a lie. What are we going to do about our sins? How can we be saved from our sins? David teaches us a lot about it in vs. 18-22.

*First in vs. 18, David said: "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." God saves those who have a contrite spirit. This means they are humbled, even crushed by their sins, and their confidence is in God alone.

*Next in vs. 19-20, David went on to say:

19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

20. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken.

*Verse 20 seems a little odd at first glance, but it was a sure prophecy and a clear sign of the Messiah Jesus Christ who would come a thousand years later. God had introduced the unbroken bones when He gave instructions for the first Passover.

*That was 400 years before King David wrote this Psalm. And because of Pharaoh's rebellion, the Lord was going to kill all of the first-born in Egypt. The only way to escape was through the blood of the Passover Lamb. God told His people about the sacrificial lamb that was to die for them in Exodus 12.

*There the Lord said:

7. . . they shall take some of the blood and put it on the 2 doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

12. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

13. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

*Later in this same chapter, God also told them:

46. In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.

*Every Passover lamb was pointing ahead to Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God who died on the cross to take away our sins. And this seemingly unimportant command not to break the bones of the lamb was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross for us. We read about it in John 19:30-36

30. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!'' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

31. Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

32. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.

33. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

34. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

35. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.

36. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken.''

*In Psalm 34:20, David was explaining God's salvation to us. And in vs. 22 he said: "The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned." The Lord redeems, pays for, buys back the souls of those who trust in Him.

*That's why 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells Christians:

18. "you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,

19. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

*Thank God for the Blood of Jesus Christ! And thank God for the teachers who help us learn about Jesus.

-Teachers help us be saved from our sin.

4. They also help us trust God through our troubles.

*Troubles will come to every life, troubles like we see in vs. 17-19:

17. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

18. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

*"Many are the afflictions of the righteous." Don't we get to live happily ever after? -- Not yet. Troubles will surely come in every life, but trust can overcome our troubles!

*Listen to God's Word:

-In vs. 17: "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles."

-In vs. 18: "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. . ."

-And again in vs. 19: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all."

*We can trust God to take us through our troubles. And thank God for the teachers who help us do it!

*Another great teacher I had was Dr. Jon Stubblefield. He taught us Biblical Greek for two hours every Monday morning for a whole school year.

*That class could have been as boring as watching grass grow. But Jon was such a great teacher, that he turned every week into a great time of discovery and worship.

*One day Dr. Jon told us a story about Hershel Hobbs. Many of us have heard of Dr. Hobbs. He was one of the all-time greatest leaders in Baptist Sunday School. His commentaries have blessed millions of people.

*Some years ago Dr. Hobbs spoke at the church in Magnolia, AR where my Greek teacher was pastor. Bro. Hershel's wife had died a short time before, and he needed to talk about it, so he sat down with Dr. Stubblefield.

*Mrs. Hobbs had been sick a long time with cancer. And near the end came a day when she asked her husband, "Hershel, what's it like to die?" He replied, "Hon I don't know."

*Later she asked him again, "Can you tell me what it's like to die?" And Dr. Hobbs answered, "I really can't tell you. But when that time comes, I'll hold your hand until I can hold it no longer, and then the Lord Jesus will hold it on other side."

*Dr. Hobbs said a few nights later, he was sleeping in next room. And at 2 o'clock in the morning, he was wakened like a bolt of lightning. He went in and took his wife by the hand. Dr. Hobbs held her hand until she passed over. And when he could hold it no longer, the Lord Jesus held it on the other side.

*We know that Jesus was there to receive Mrs. Hobbs, because He rose from the dead and returned to Heaven. We also know Jesus received Mrs. Hobbs, because she had already received Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

*His eternal life is available to all who will repent and trust Him as Savior and Lord. Trust in Jesus Christ. He will see you through the worst troubles you will ever have to face in life. And thank God for the teachers who help us trust in the Lord.

*Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) Exploring the Psalms by John Phillips - Vol. 1, p. 255

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