Date: 19 July, 2015
Text: Psalm 31:14-24
Title: A Rock of Refuge
Theme: How a believer can stand up against the ungodly.
1 ¶ «To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.» In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.
2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
4 Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.
5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;
8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
9 ¶ Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
exp. This is a Psalm of David written for Temple worship. It is not a Psalm of praise but a Psalm of problems. But, they are problem that find their solution in God.
This is a Psalm of David. It seems near the time when Absalom rose up against David. Whatever the case, the Psalm to be sung in Temple worship would find application in the lives of all who came there to sing it.
And so this morning, we know that all of us can relate to the feeling of the Psalmist as he pours out his complaint to God. (Underlined Phrases.)
Our world is so anti-God. It is not an easy day to stand up for Jesus. There are very few on "our side." We are going uphill to Heaven against the majority of men and women on their way down to @#!*% . We want them to turn and go with us. But, it's not easy to continue on when so few are going our way. It becomes overwhelming. (Expecially if it is family or friends who are seeking to pull us down.) "especially among my neighbors and a fear to mine acquaintance."
What should we remember when life becomes overwhelming? What truth will sustain us against the pressure of the enemy? REMEMBER....
I. God wants the controls to your life.
A. He is your GOD.
14 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.
note: God is the supreme Divine being of the universe. He is creator. He is sustainer. He is ruler. He is far above us.
ill. There is a big difference between Mac and Myself. As he walks with me, I have to hold him up. I have to lift him over obstacles. I have to teach and instruct him. I have to encourage him when he is afraid and help him when he is overwhelmed. He is easily frustrated by things that are no problem to me.
exp. There is a big difference between us and God. He is far above us. He isn't disturbed or frustrated as we are with what is going on in our lives.
app. Remember, HE IS GOD.
B. You must put your life in His hand.
15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
exp. David just puts his present life and his future life into the hand of God. David has acknoweldged TO GOD that GOD ALONE CONTROLS HIS FUTURE.
hymn: Ira Stamphill " "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow"
I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
And I don't borrow from its sunshine
'Cause the skies might turn to grey.
And I don't worry about the future,
'Cause I know what Jesus said,
And today I'm gonna walk right beside him
'Cause he's the one who knows what is ahead.
There are things about tomorrow
That I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
And each step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb.
And every burden is getting lighter
And all the clouds are silver lined.
And, over there the sun is always shining
And no tears will ever dim the eye
And the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains, they touch the sky.
There are many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
Yes I know who holds my hand.
app. Believer, have you taken your hands off of the controls of you life and acknowledged that your future is in God's hand? ARE YOUR TIMES IN HIS HAND? David didn't frustrate himself by trying to control what was taking place. He let God who can control life take the controls of his life.
II. Let God have his way in your life.
A. Let Him direct you.
16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.
exp. David was walking in darkness. He wanted the light of God's presence to illumine his way.
ill. This illustration was more meaningful to Israel. They were the people who had followed the pillar of fire at night in the wilderness.
Psalm 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
ill. Imagine Mac pushing the door to a room closed and being in pitch blackness. He screams and I respond by opening the door and flipping the switch which floods the room with an abundance of light. He no longer needs to scream because everything is evident in the light.
app. Are you in darkness this morning? Are you trying to find your own way or are you crying out to God for illumination? He ALONE can flip the switch which can reveal all.
B. Let Him defend you.
17 Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed,
exp. David should not have been ashamed. His sin was in the past and it had been dealt with. But, the wicked who were persecuting righteous David deserved to be ashamed.
Example: Our world honors homosexuality, evolution, abortion, and atheism but seeks to shame those who believe in the sanctity of marriage, creation, right to life and God.
app. We don't have to be frustrated this morning and worried. God will put the shame and honor in the right place. He will in eternity but he can now as well.
C. Let him deliver you.
and let them be silent in the grave.
18 Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
exp. David wanted God to put away the wicked by severe judgment.
note: I'd rather they repent and get saved. God is a merciful God.
I Corinthians 6: 9 ¶ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
note: I've often prayed for David Attenborough's salvation. He can get saved and renounce evolution.
app. But, we can trust God to take care of the lies whether they ever repent or not. We don't have to be burdened about it.
III. God knows those who honor him.
A. God will greatly bless men you for FEARING HIM.
19 ¶ Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;
exp. There is a reward in Heaven for those who fear God and obey him when everyone else fears mankind.
ill. What was God doing when Satan attacked Job. He was proudly watching a man stand for him against the great enemy of mankind.
Job 42: 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
10 ¶ And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
app. Do you fear God or do you fear men? MOST OF MODERN DAY EVANGELICALISM FEARS MANKIND AND WHAT THEY THINK. THEY HAVE STOPPED FEARING WHAT GOD THINKS.
Acts 4: 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
B. Expecially if you take a public stand for Him.
which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
question: Are you trusting in God before the sons of men?
ill. Noah built a boat for 120 years while men mocked him and his family. God vindicated Noah. The door of the ark was shut and all those who stood and laughed died in the waters of God's judgment.
ill. The Christian bakers in NI trusted God before mankind. Even after the judgment of the unjust judge they declared their willingness to honor God before they would honor men.
note: Would a judge really tell a muslim printer that they have to print copies of the Bible if they felt like they shouldn't? Wouldn't believers just look for another printer instead of taking someone to trial about that ? There is not justice in what took place there. BUT GOD WILL REWARD THEIR OBEDIENCE IN HONORING HIM INSTEAD OF BOWING TO THE FEAR OF MAN.
app. A day of great judgment is coming. God knows that ours is not an easy day to stand. But, it is a great day to trust God before the unbelievers. God will not forget to reward those who are obedient in these difficult days!
IV. God will take you and put you in a place of safety.
A. You get to abide in God's presence.
20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
exp. Those who thus stand get to experience the secret of the presence of God.
ill. Hearing the thunderstorm in Durango as we slept at my grandparents house. Meditating on the verse above the fireplace.
Ps 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
note: Note if you are in the shadow, the object is very nearby.
app. We have place of safety - it is God!
B. You get to know God's blessing where you are.
21 Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.
exp. Whatever large city David was near, God's vindication was obvious to the city.
note: God is able to reveal himself to a city.
ill. It is likely that this verse is Messianic. Jesus was crucified in the strong city. But, it is also the city of his resurrection and Pentecost.
app. We all live near a large city. We don't have to think that it is TOO STRONG a place to know the kindness of God. God will protect and defend his servants even here!
V. God still hears you when you feel like He doesn't.
A. A hasty assessment of God's presence may suggest God isn't with you.
22 For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes:
exp. In a rush of activity (perhaps fleeing from Absalom) the Psalmist feels like he has lost the blessing of God upon his life. BUT HE WAS WRONG.
note: There are so many bad things taking place in our world today. We could easily get discouraged and wonder if we have God's blessing upon our work that we are seeking to do for Him.
app. Don't be hasty in determining God's blessing.
B. Despite that false assessment, God has heard you.
nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
exp. God allowed his servant to go through the feeling of being cut off and yet GOD WAS THERE TO HEAR HIS CRY.
ill. Elijah thought he was cut off from God's blessing and yet God revealed himself to him in the still small voice.
Moses thought Israel was cut off from God's blessing but God was willing to give Moses a glimpse of His glory to encourage him.
Peter thought the denial of Christ was the end of his ministry - BUT IT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING. The preacher of Pentecost went through deep water before standing on the Rock.
app. Don't jump ship just because it seems like their is immenent danger. Keep your eyes on the Master of the ship. He will hear your cry!
VI. God wants you to love Him and to trust Him.
23 O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
exp. Do you love God enough to trust him through the difficult times? He's going to guard the faithful and give the proud what they deserve. Are you trusting Him?
note: What a precious end to this Psalm. Just love God.
· Love Him. He is going to get you through this overwhelming trial.
· Love Him. He watches over the faithful.
· Love Him. He takes care of the proud.
app. The danger of walking through trials is becoming bitter against God. Just keep a tender heart of love to the Lord. He will see you through whatever trial you are facing.
VII. God will strengthen your heart as you depend upon Him.
24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
exp. David's heart felt like mush. He may have been ready to quit. His heart needed strengthening AND HE FOUND IT. He encourages God's people not to faint but to have courage because GOD WOULD DO AN INTERNAL WORK FOR THOSE WHO HOPE IN HIM.
Question: Are you tired of going upstream? Have you come to the conclusion that you can't do it?
app. Don't despair, God will give you all the strength you need to stand for him in a wicked day. But, you must depend upon Him for it.
Ga 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
conclusion: Can you sympathize with this Psalm of David? ie. enemy, trial, grief, sighing, slander, etc. The world is against God for the word, "Go."
1.) Does God have control of your life? 2.) Are you letting God have his way? 3) Are you honoring Him? 4.) He will protect and bless you. LET HIM STRENGTHEN YOUR HEART.