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Faithlife
Faithlife

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Waiting well for God to move.
Every day I am passed along something that should rightly outraged me.
Abortion- the killing, dismembering of innocent children, and then the selling of their body parts for profit or research.
Racial Tensions- police shootings, unfair systems that keep people in poverty
Prosperity Preachers- distorting the gospel by turning Jesus into an idol-giver that simply gives us what we want.
Our President- doing something unbelievable…or getting into a silly twitter spat that we would expect our teenage children to walk away from.
Politics revealing that very few people actually are working hard to solve problems, they are just trying to block the other sides flawed solution.
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• Continually flawed gender experiments being forced down our throats at the great cost of our children’s innocence.
ISIS committing untold atrocities as they go from village to village killing, plundering, raping, targeting both Christians and Muslims.
And I haven’t even mentioned personal tragedies that hit even closer to home.
• 2nd Grade Girls aren’t supposed to get brain tumors.
• Your parents shouldn’t fight all the time and get divorced.
• Heart attacks shouldn’t rob your dad or mom from you way too early in your life.
• No one should be abused or assaulted physically, sexually, emotionally. Tormented by another.
› Transition- The Psalms give us a type of prayer or crying out to God called Lament. A Lament is often called a “Complaint Psalm”
General Background- There is usually 3 parts to any Lament.
1. A Complaint- what’s bugging you.
2. A Request- An appeal for God to act or do something.
3. A Declaration of Faith/Trust in God followed by Praise.
READ ESV
A Psalm of Asaph. O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins. They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the heavens for food, the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth. They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us. How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name! For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation. Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes! Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die! Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord! But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
• We ought to learn to cast our cares on God, because he cares for us.
· Maybe even learn to Go to God with the rawest of our emotions and the things that are bugging us more than go to social media to post them for all to see.
· Why not go to God with these things, he’s the one who can do something about it anyway!
Lord we have been destroyed by our enemies
• The nations have invaded our land.
• They have destroyed Jerusalem, they have defiled the Temple. They have killed and murdered your people God…
• Your people have not even been given a decent funeral, but the beasts of the earth pick at their remains. This is dark. If we would have experienced this, it would have bothered us too.
Cultural Insight: To die and not be buried was the final insult or humiliation you could do to your enemies.
• We have become a taunt to our neighbors, we are mocked and constantly made fun of by everyone around us.
• How long are you going to let this go on God?
• How long are you going to allow evil men and women to run unchecked? How long will you allow ISIS to go unchecked?
• How long are you going to allow us to be slandered, mocked, taunted, tormented at the hands of our enemies?
• How long Lord are you going to allow young children to be ripped from the wombs of their mothers, never given a shot at life?
• How long Lord are you going going to let young black men die in simple traffic stops? How long are you going to allow innocent law enforcement officers to be targeted in retaliation events?
• How long O Lord will we have bury children who contract childhood diseases?
• How Long O Lord will we have to see our loved Parents and Grandparents waste away mentally with Alzheimer’s disease. Where their body endures, but they are not even a shell of themselves anymore?
These first 5 verses are raw…they are graphic. Do you know what we learn from them?
a. Illustration: Have you ever had a really raw moment with a friend or family member and they just didn’t know how to handle it? They see a little bit of your crazy, or a little bit of your emotional processing…and they don’t know what to do about it? Yeah, God isn’t like that, he can handle it!
b. In fact, he wants us to bring our concerns to him…because that in itself is an act of faith. It is an acknowledgement that he can actually do something about it.
Transition: But the Psalmist doesn’t just pour out his feelings, he actually wants God to do something about it.
He asks for 3 things:
The End of Suffering, Deliverance from his enemies, and retribution on his Enemies.
The thing about Lament Psalms is that they translate to so many different times and places. The original context, whether it was the Asaph who led worship during the reign of King David, or whether he was a Temple musician during the time of the exile, matters actually very little. Because when we experience hard things, we immediately wonder if this is the judgment of God on us? We know that God is sovereign over all things…he isn’t taken by surprise…he isn’t caught napping…and so we think, “is this your judgment?”
And for the people Israel, living under the Covenant of Moses, it could certainly be implied. They covenanted before God that they would obey his law, and with that would come God’s blessing. But if they disobeyed his law, thus not living by faith in God, and in so doing, didn’t make him look good in front of the nations, they new that judgment would inevitably fall.
We know on this side of Jesus Christ, that God isn’t angry with us. That in Christ Jesus, all of the anger toward our sin has been dealt with fully and completely…so that God sees us through the lens of his son. We may be experiencing the consequences of our stupid decisions, but God’s anger has been dealt with.
In light of this, he confesses the sin of his people. He owns it. He names it.
ESV
Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.
ESV
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes! Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
• God for the sake of your name, deliver us.
• God, hear the groaning of your people and act, deliver.
• Hear us God!
ESV
Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name!
ESV
Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
Is it okay for us to ask God to pour out his anger? YES…
Yes! The opposite of Love is not hate or anger but indifference. When you hurt his people God is angry about it.
This is what makes the cross so incredible…God grants justice, while also making mercy available…through Christ. He bore the justice of God in our place…so that we can never say that sin isn’t a big deal, but we can also say definitively that God loves us!
But for those who do not love him…who oppress and destroy God’s people...”return sevenfold” (number of completeness) return completely and fully on their heads all their taunts.
Evil will not go unchecked forever. It will not have the upper hand. No, we have a King, whose name is Jesus who has promised to return. And when he returns, he will execute justice perfectly.
Why does he wait? Why doesn’t he drop the hammer right now?
Gives us some insight into this.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
God waits because he longs for us all to repent and believe in Jesus. He will execute Justice but he longs for us to respond to his mercy and be transformed.
· The kind of mercy that can take Saul of Tarsus, a murdering persecutor of Christians, one who rejoiced in breaking up families and sending daddy’s and mommy’s to jail for their allegiance to Jesus…and Turn him into the Apostle Paul…joyfully laying down his life in order to make Jesus known.
· The kind of mercy that can a corrupt and morally bankrupt politician and lawyer named Chuck Colson and turn him into one of the most winsome Christian apologists.
· The kind of mercy that could take a smug, self-righteous teenager like myself, living a bit of a double life, one way at church, a slightly different version at school, and call him into a life of preaching the gospel and making disciples.
· The kind of mercy that put up with your foolishness, whatever it was, but now entrusts to you by grace a different calling.
· God’s patience is not inaction, but mercy!
Transition: So, in verses 1-5 the Psalmist poured out his heart, his feelings, in 6-12 he asks God for God to act, to end the suffering, to deliver his people, to bring judgment on evil. But the Psalm doesn’t end there. No, what makes it beautiful and godly is that this pouring out his heart to God brings him to a posture of faith and praise in Verse 13
ESV
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
Verse 13 is what brings the lament all together.
• There is an Identification with God. “we are your people, the sheep of your pasture”
• There is a thankfulness to God. Even in the midst of their turmoil...
· There is a confident belief that God will act, and that his action will be right.
Whenever we are dealing with a complex problem that doesn’t have an easy solution…it’s a relief to know that we don’t have to figure it out, God will.
· How would you solve the problems in the middle east? I bet you can recognize that there is a problem, but probably don’t have a solution that is very well thought through.
· So many issues of injustice are like that…everyone can see it’s broken, but no one knows how to fix it. We have a God who will…and he will perfectly. Lament gets us to this posture.
But what about when the answer is no…not yet…keep waiting?
· What do we do when we ask for healing, fully believing that God can and may even do it, but up until this point he hasn’t?
· What do we do when we still find ourselves single, having brought the desire of our heart for marriage before the Lord time and time again and the answer has been no…not yet…wait?
· What do we do when we’ve prayed for a relationship to be reconciled, we extended forgiveness, we want to sit down and talk, but that person wants nothing to do with us?
· How does our waiting not turn into despair?
· What about when we prayed for God to heal our Grandpa, but the answer was no?
· When we asked God to reconcile our parents, but they got divorced anyway?
How do we cling to faith in these seasons of waiting or these seasons of disappointment?
We Lament well.
1. We bring our emotions to the Lord and are honest with him…he can handle it!
2. We keep asking God to act.
a. He is our Father who loves to give good things.
Matthew 7:9–11 ESV
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for cbread, will give him ca stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, dwho are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will zyour Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
3. We trust him with the answers.
a. How much more must he do to show his love for us?
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
c. God is not immune to suffering, but suffered so that we might have life. He is worthy of our trust, even when we lack the answers we seek.
b.
c. God is not immune to suffering, but suffered so that we might have life. He is worthy of our trust, even when we lack the answers we seek.
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