Faithlife
Faithlife

Loneliness

Experiencing Godly Emotions  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We can battle the feeling of loneliness by not only understanding Christ's suffering, but how he faced his suffering in Faith.

Notes & Transcripts
Intro: Have you ever been lonely…felt alone…like no one else in the world cared for you… Maybe betrayed, abandoned, tossed away…
I have. Sometimes in the midst of people I would feel completely and utterly alone. Like no one really knows me or cares for me.
I remember nights before I met Liz thinking, Am I destined to spend my life alone…will anyone join my on this journey of life through thick and thin or will all my relationships be subject to change.
Even in the last year as many of my friendships have changed and others have moved away, I feel the lost, the ache, the wondering…are relationships just doomed to be considered trivial, toss aside when it no longer benefits that other as much.
Have you ever been there…feeling completely and totally alone…and yet knowing deep down that you’re not really alone.
Here’s what I’ve come to find out. Even when I think I am completely and utterly alone, I’m not. I’m never on my own…there are always people who care…many of whom are just a phone call away.
But do you know that there was someone who was completely and totally alone? Jesus.
· When he hung on the cross…
· His good friends had all scattered, abandoned, or betrayed him. One of his closest friends ever denied knowing him to save his own skin.
· And in that moment of history, even God abandoned him. Turned his back on him. Poured out his anger and wrath on him for the sin of mankind.
· It was a moment of pure and utter aloneness. Jesus was truly forsaken, in a way that you and I never will be.
· But he experience this…without sin…he endured this in faith.
· Do you know what was on his mind and his heart during this time?
· A Lament Psalm. …A Psalm that begins with Jesus’ words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A beginning of the Psalm that implies the entirety of the Psalm in it’s context.
We would do well to spend some time in this particular lament Psalm, so that we might learn, like Jesus to face our own loneliness by faith.
Psalm 22 ESV
To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. 1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! 22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. 30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; 31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
READ (pg. 292)
Psalm 22 ESV
To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
It’s hard to read this without being blown away by the Word of God. This Psalm, written by King David around 1000BC, describes with such vivid strokes, what actually happened to Jesus.
“they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
“All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;”
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
“they have pierced my hands and feet—“
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
“he has done it.” - “It is finished!”
,
It is easy to get lost in this incredibly rich tapestry of fulfilled prophecy…to see all the incredible connections and shout AMEN! Because this truly is good news. Predicted by David, experienced in part by him…but fully fulfilled by Jesus.
And it is through this suffering that we all sit here today as changed people…or at least intrigued by the idea and impact of Jesus.
That is the primary point and message of this text, but sometimes in focusing so much on Jesus the Savior, we forget that he is also an example to follow. This Psalm gives us a window into his emotional state on the cross…and how to endure suffering and loneliness well.
· Disclaimer- What Jesus experienced was utterly unique in the world. Not one of us could have endured for even a brief moment, all that he was enduring there.
· However, in quoting this Psalm…and by quoting the first verse, it was implied that the entire context was in view, Jesus is showing us an example of faith-filled suffering. And how to combat the very real struggle of loneliness, forsakenness, betrayal.
So, how did this Psalm help David cling to faith, help Jesus cling to faith, and ultimately give us a guide for how to cling to faith through our worst bouts of loneliness?
Like most lament Psalms it has 3 distinct parts. We talked about these last week.
1. A Complaint to God.
2. A Request of God
3. A Declaration of Faith and Praise
Here the structure is:
1. à A Complaint to God…this is how I feel.
2. à A Short Request of God.
3. à A Declaration of Praise.
What strikes us immediately about this is how long the complaint is compared to the request, and how long the Praise is at the end…compared to the relatively short request.
Remember from last week, the Lament Psalms invite us to be honest with God about what we feel. He is not scared of our emotions.
And so David does pour out his heart…and Jesus does, uniquely experiencing these things does. And in light of that, we are invited in our loneliness to pour out our hearts.
· What I find so refreshing about this is the back and forth nature of David/Jesus going between how he feels and what he knows.
· Let me show you visually
o How I feel (1-2)
o What I know (3-5)
o How I feel (6-8)
o What I know (9-11)
o How I feel (12-18)
o What I want (19-21)
So, rather than break this up nice and clean into points, let’s just walk through and feel the wrestle with him. Experience the back and forth.
This is How I feel
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”
Forsaken- completely and utterly alone. Abandoned, left…
Jesus experience this uniquely, But have you ever felt it acutely sometimes?
He felt ignored by God. Like God heard his prayers but didn’t answer, didn’t listen.
We all feel this sometimes…
like we pray and pray and pray, but our prayers hit the ceiling.
App: But here’s the truth à Jesus was completely forsaken, so that we would never be. Jesus was left completely and utterly alone outside the city…so that we would never actually be alone.
But as David and Jesus wrestle with this, we see the pushback in (3-5) but I know this is True
READ 3-5
· You are holy and set apart
· You are Sovereign and on the Throne
· Our Father’s trusted you and you delivered them, they were not put to shame.
Brothers and Sisters, this is how we preach to ourselves. In the midst of honestly pouring out our feelings, we speak truth that we know about ourselves.
But it isn’t always nice and clean…just like fighting discouragement.
He says Yet again… BUT, that may be true, but this is how I feel (6-8) READ IT
· I feel more like a worm than a man
· I am the butt of everyone jokes…they sit around mocking me…where is your God?
· Oh, the strength for Jesus to remain on the cross and not prove all those cowardly mockers wrong. What strength of will to let those nails hold him when with a word, thousands of angels would have been at his beck and call…putting those idiots in their place.
· Yet he says simply, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Back to the Truth (9-11) READ IT
· Like an infant child must depend upon his or her mother, so David/Jesus was raised to trust his God.
· You hear the dependent plea “Be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help.” Yet no help from the Father would Jesus receive…
And so, one more time, my lament, how I feel (12-18) READ IT
· This is where David gets beyond anything he himself had experienced and gets into the prophetic.
· Surrounded by wild and dangerous animals…Lions and Bulls and dogs O MY!
· Utterly exhausted – poured out like water
· In Excruciating Pain and unable to move – all my bones are out of joint,
· No more will or courage – heart is like melting wax
o Strength dried up like a potsherd à A type of pottery that baked in the sun.
· Thirsty- My tongue sticks to my jaws…maybe a reference to “I thirst” wine vinegar, maybe not?
· “They have pierced my hands and feet”
o They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
o But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
· They have gambled for my clothes…all I had remaining.
Do you feel the back and forth nature of this…this is how I feel, this is what I know…this is how I feel…this is what I know…this is how I feel…AND NOW GOD THIS IS WHAT I WANT.
The Request 19-21 READ
· God Deliver me! Be Quick!
· And for David he did, but for Jesus he didn’t.
· Now, the only good reason why he could answer this prayer of David, is because of what was accomplished for David by his greater Son Jesus.
· God doesn’t owe us anything, including deliverance…but he grants it to us by grace through the finished work of his Son.
· Jesus was truly forsaken and abandoned so that we would be delivered Ultimately!
What makes so amazing is the Long Anthem of Praise at the End!
Our Lament leads us to Faith and Praise.
But here, listen in…it sounds almost like a victory lap for Jesus.
Because of what he endured on the Cross, it’s like he takes a lap to soak it in.
Listen as I read 22-31 AGAIN
What is amazing about this, what ties it all together…is the last words recorded by Jesus on the cross are the last words of this anthem of PRAISE.
He has done it
OR
“It is FINISHED!”
It is declaration of Praise and Victory upon finishing the passion!
It is not his final declaration of pain, but his claiming of Victory!
It is Finished! It is Done! He had Done it!
And because it’s awesome, let me tie this into the last book of the Bible!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place1 of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,2 and God himself will be with them as their God.3 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I lam making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
And so this final declaration of Victory is not just limited to the Psalm but is the Climax of the New Heavens and New Earth!
It is done! It is finished!
Application
1. Be honest with God about your emotions, he can handle it.
2. Allow the process of Lament to lead to you to Faith.
3. Don’t give in to the Lie that you are Alone…you are never alone. Because of what Jesus did and endured, he purchased for you Sonship before God, the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, and an imperfect family that will one day be as we ought in the church!
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