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Our Future Is in God’s Hands | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2024 3:00 am

Our Future Is in God’s Hands | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 26, 2024 3:00 am

“...But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help” (Psalm 31:22). How often has that been true for you, too? Psalm 31 puts the overwhelming goodness of God on display, reminding us of who He is even in hardship. Get more insight now.


2 Timothy 4:7–8
To become a man after God’s own heart, David first had to learn the heart of God.
“God’s Own Man Learns God’s Own Heart”
1. God is our refuge.
Psalm 34:1–4
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Philippians 4:6
1 Samuel 22:1–2
2. Use your distress for God’s glory.
Psalm 34:7–10
3. God will provide and deliver.
Psalm 46:1–3
Matthew 7:14
“If you understand the spiritual significance of our day, in whose kingdom are you living? To which king are you giving your allegiance?” —Alan Redpath

Harvest Crusade 2024


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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to Father, you tell us that we are heirs. You see us with the righteousness of Christ.

That's no small thing. Our mistakes, our sins, our shortcomings, Lord, you don't see those. You see us with the righteousness of Christ. And because of that, we can come boldly before your throne into this amazing room that we can come and ask you as our Father, meet this need, answer this prayer request. Lord, this is happening in my life.

Would you pay attention? And Father, you're a good Father who pays attention to us. You love us. And Lord, we love you. And so we sing to you. We worship you. And we ask now that you would speak to us through your word. And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Amen. You guys can have a seat. Welcome to church, everyone.

Good to see you all. I'm Pastor Jonathan Laurie and I'm excited to be going through this series with you, the book of Psalms. Today we're going to be looking at Psalm chapter 34 and 2 Samuel chapter 21, if you'd like to turn in your Bibles there. Psalm 34, 2 Samuel chapter 21. Excuse me, 1 Samuel chapter 21.

Excuse me. So I heard a great story recently about a lady who went to go buy some cat food for her cat. And she went into the pet store. And as she came into this pet store, there's this beautiful parrot. I don't know if it was a macaw or what it was.

Colorful, amazing. And it's sitting on a perch right at the front of the pet store as you walk in. Any bird owners in the church today? Any bird owners?

OK, a couple of you. Birds are pretty cool. They're amazing.

They're super smart. And so this parrot was sitting on the perch and she just noticed how beautiful this parrot was. And as she was walking by to go get the cat food, the parrot calls out to her, hey, lady.

This is a true story. And the lady goes, who, me? The parrot says, yeah, you. And she says, yeah. He says, you are the ugliest woman I have ever seen in my life.

She was appalled. Excuse me? You heard me.

You were the ugliest woman I've ever seen in my life. And you know when someone says something that's insulting to you and then they repeat it? Like, yeah, I said that.

It's that much worse. And she immediately called for the manager and told the manager what this parrot said. And he said, oh, I'm really sorry. Yeah, we've heard complaints about the bird in the past. And I promise it won't happen again. So he takes the parrot to the back room and he smacks the parrot around, hitting the parrot in the face.

Don't you ever say something like that to one of our customers again. And he puts the parrot back out there. A week later, the lady comes back. And they walk in and immediately the parrot and the lady lock eyes. And the parrot looks at her and he says, hey, lady, you're the fattest woman I've ever seen in my life.

Oh, man. And so she calls for the manager again. Sir, I don't know what your parrot's problem is, but he continues to insult me, even though you assure me it would not happen again.

The manager, I'm so sorry. Again, this will not happen again. I promise you this will not happen again. And so he takes the parrot again to the back room and says, don't you ever say something like that. He smacks the parrot around more. Now he's holding the parrot under water like in one of the bathtubs in the back. And I don't know if you've ever seen a wet bird before, but it's a pretty sad sight. He puts the parrot back out there on the perch and the lady kind of walks out, you know, kind of gives the parrot one of these.

Yeah, you learned your lesson. She comes back a week later, third time, she comes in and she does her shopping and there's the parrot kind of standing there and he's a little bit sheepish, kind of learned his lesson finally. And she walks out, she gets, you know, checks out with her cat food and gets to the door and the parrot calls out and he says, hey, lady.

And she looks at him and he goes, you know. That's a pretty good laugh. That's a classic one from the Greg Laurie archive right there. So I'm glad that you guys responded well. I think that the PETA people might be a little bit upset and that's why we pulled back on it, but I'm glad to hear that you guys like that one. That's pretty good, isn't it? But that lady knew exactly what that parrot was thinking, didn't she?

He didn't have to say it. She knew what that parrot was thinking. And I feel like sometimes today it would be really great to know what people are thinking, right? It'd be really an asset to know what is going on inside somebody's head as you were talking to them, as you are trying to negotiate with them. Hey, how about trying to go to the car dealer today and knowing exactly what price that car dealer is willing to drop down to as you're negotiating.

That would be amazing. I feel like everything is 5,000 over MSRP now. It's just they're gouging everybody.

It's crazy. But I also feel like it would be kind of terrifying to know what people are thinking because I know what I'm thinking when people are saying things to me and they would not be happy to know the thoughts that I'm thinking. Is this person done yet? Are you over? Okay, great. You wanted to have a conversation with me.

You really just wanted to talk at me. Okay, again, I'm revealing my inner dialogue here, so I should not be sharing this. I feel like it would be a really great asset for us husbands to know what our wives are thinking when we know something is wrong. And we ask them, honey, is everything okay? And she says to you, yeah, everything's fine.

I'm good. Yeah, if there's one thing I've learned after 14 years of marriage, everything is not fine and everything is not good when they say that. But knowing what they're thinking would be sure nice to be able to address it right there on the spot.

It'd be good, but it could also be semi-terrifying. I'd like to know what every person is saying as you make that presentation would maybe be kind of terrifying. If I was standing up here and I knew what you were all thinking, I would probably crumble into a small ball and shrivel up and die to know what you're thinking. What is this guy talking about?

He's an idiot. But it is insightful, it is insightful to know what somebody is thinking while certain events are going on. We've been able to uncover certain documents from Abraham Lincoln, letters that he wrote to his wife while certain events in American history are going on.

Sort of a diary of different people knowing what these events are doing to them psychologically and how they're processing them, how they're able to come to certain conclusions and make strategic decisions is amazing. In the Bible, there's two letters from the Apostle Paul that he wrote to a guy named Timothy. He was a son in the faith to the Apostle Paul and Paul wrote these letters not while he was sitting in some ivory tower or at some Four Seasons resort. He wrote these letters to Timothy while he was in something called the Mamertine Prison. Now the Apostle Paul, he wrote something called the Prison Epistles, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, I believe, and he was in house arrest and kind of going between different jail cells and so it was bad. But while he wrote Timothy, he was in a dark, dank, and damp environment. Basically, he knew that what was awaiting him next was his final sentencing and he knew he was going to be executed for his faith in Jesus Christ. So this was not like a happy, joyful experience for the Apostle Paul. I'm sure he was afraid.

I'm sure he was nervous. But what we read in 1 and 2 Timothy are not letters of regret. Oh, how I just wish I made a different decision. I didn't end up in this position. I wish that I made different choices. I have so many regrets. I wish I did this more.

I wish I did that more. No, these were letters written by a man who had been shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, drug out of the city limits and left for dead, rejected by his friends, rejected by his own blood, cursed, and he was ultimately now awaiting his final trial, which he knew would lead to death while sitting in this damp, dank, smelly prison cell. And what he said is amazing and just profound and so just challenging to us in our own faith. He said this in 2 Timothy 4, 7, 8, some of the last words he ever penned. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me, the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me, but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

Wow. He wrote those words while he was in the most terrifying and gross of circumstances. That offers a whole different understanding and perspective to his life.

Again, Paul was not sending out letters talking about his regrets and his his embarrassments and the things that he had wished he had done differently. No, he was instead standing tall on the rock of his salvation, proclaiming that Jesus was enough for him. Though he looked death square in the face, he was saying, Jesus is my ultimate hope and he can be your hope as well.

That's amazing, isn't it? It's amazing to know what these guys were thinking when they were going through these different events in their life. And in the last few weeks together, as we look at the Psalms of David, we've been able to see the same thing. We've been able to see similar insights, the thoughts that were going through David's mind as he experienced various trials, what he was thinking, what he felt, how he made certain choices.

And ultimately we see the same thing that we see in Paul. Like Paul, we see that David trusted God, even when things were at their hardest. You see, God had promised that David, he would become king. He was anointed as king, as a young man, and he promised that David would ascend to the throne. And when you hear something like that, that God is anointing you, he is calling you to be king, you would assume that it would be a pretty quick process, right?

Like maybe a month or two, get some of the formalities in the way. For David, it took between 15 to 20 years. From the time he was anointed to the time that he was actually crowned king of Israel, was between 15 to 20 years. And as a result of that promise, David didn't get to live in the lap of luxury for those 15 years, no.

For that time, he faced incredible persecution from Israel's current king, Saul. And for those 15 years though, God had a plan. He was preparing David. He wasn't ready to become the king of Israel yet. He had the right heart, but he had some experience that he had to gain first. And the Lord, the whole time that Paul was chasing him and going through all the different hardships of his life, the Lord was preparing him and doing a new work in his life. He was humbling him, he was leading him, and he was preparing him. To become a man after God's own heart, David first had to learn the heart of God. We've all heard that said about David, oh, he's the man after God's own heart.

That didn't just happen. He didn't just come out of the womb with God's own heart. No, he had to learn it. And he had to learn difficult lessons in order to have that heart of God. I've titled this message, God's Own Man Learns God's Own Heart. God's Own Man Learns God's Own Heart. And I want to look together with you at one of those times in the Psalms that David felt abandoned, that he felt rejected and alone.

And ultimately, I want to look at how he responded and ultimately how God provided for him and delivered him out of all of his woes and all of his fears. And so, to set some further context about what we're going to be looking at together, basically the way this all started was the Israelites had God as their king. God had established the judges, various judges and people that he used to rule Israel. When Israel had enemies coming to attack and different things, God fought the battles for them. And God made the decisions.

He used the judges to make these choices and ultimately helped Israel become the nation that she was, expanding her footprint, helping them become the kingdom that he had called them to be, helping them to really be a beacon of who God was. And they were really to be ambassadors to the rest of the ancient world of who God is. And so, they were doing that.

It was going great. But the people were not happy. They did not want God as their king. Could you imagine literally rejecting God as your king? That'd be like rejecting Jesus as your king and saying, no, we want a different king. We want that guy over there. We want this person.

It's exactly what the Israelites did. They rejected God and the leadership program that he had going with the judges and instead said, we want a king for ourselves like all the other nations. We want a king that's going to rule us.

We want a king that sits on a throne. And so, they chose this man who was handsome. He was the most handsome man in all the land. He was head and shoulders above the rest. He spoke eloquently.

He came from wealth. He looked like a king. He sounded like a king. But he was a horrible king. And that was King Saul. Ultimately, Saul was anointed to become king. And what happened was Saul disobeyed the Lord multiple times. The Lord told Saul to do certain things and Saul disobeyed multiple times. And so, David was anointed as king by Samuel. And the Spirit of the Lord comes upon David. And as the Spirit of the Lord came upon David, it departed from Saul. And so, Saul begins to have trouble in his spirit.

He has all kinds of panic attacks and anxieties and different things. Well, he learns that this young man, David, who had been anointed, was actually quite good at playing a stringed instrument. And David would come and play before Saul and soothe his soul. So, Saul became really fond of David and allowed him to come in.

He made him his armor bearer. And the story goes on. David goes on and defeats Goliath. We know that story. And Saul ultimately learns that David is becoming more and more popular.

And so, what happens? Saul doesn't champion him. He doesn't raise him up. He knows that David is anointed. He's going to be the next king of Israel. Saul instead begins to persecute David because of his insecurity, right?

He's insecure. He's uncomfortable with David's popularity. And so, Saul goes on to persecute David and ultimately try and kill David multiple times. Jealousy turns to fear and fear turns into anger as David continues to succeed. He tries to kill David multiple times. And we see now that David escapes from this most recent assassination attempt.

Saul's own daughter, Michael, told him it was going to happen. And David ends up fleeing and hiding from Saul at the cave of Adullam, which is what we'll be reading about together today. And so, let's look at that text now. In Psalm chapter 34, we're going to see a quick little insight into what David is thinking. And then we'll look at Samuel chapter 22. So, Psalm 34. David says this, I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he heard me and he delivered me from all of my fears. Let's stop there.

That brings us to point number one. God is our refuge. God is our refuge.

And so, there you see it right there. That is David in a nutshell. He's on the run. He's sleeping in caves, surrounded by wilderness with the possibility of being found by Saul and his army.

He has a group of ragtag men with no experience or integrity to speak of surrounding him. And yet, David recognizes something very important. He recognizes these dangers ultimately mean nothing because God is on the throne. God is in control.

He recognizes that. David sees that God is the one who's been sustaining him all this time, from the time he was a young shepherd boy, to the time he conquered Goliath, to the time that now he is being delivered out of the hand of Saul. It is the Lord who is sustaining him. My dad reminded us last week in his message which he titled, Our Future in God's Hands, when he said this, David did not know the rest of his story.

He knew just that God was writing it and ultimately that it would be good. And God has a future for you too. And until that day, we must remember, and he quotes Psalm 34 15, that our times are in his hands. Our times are in his hands. I pray that that brings you assurance today to know that your times are in his hands, that your children's times are in his hands, that your family, your parents, your work, your life is ultimately in the hands of God. That should bring comfort to you. Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. I'm a parent. I have three kids and I worry.

It's just something that happens naturally. I don't try and look for things to worry about. I'll just be laying in bed and I'm struck with worry or concern or fear where my kids are, what they're doing. Are they making the right choices? Are they driving safely?

Only one of them is driving. Actually, our oldest Riley, she turned 19 today. It's her 19th birthday today.

So happy birthday, Riley. But I can't help but think about them. And it seems that it always happens when I'm like in the time right when I'm about to fall asleep, boom, it pops into my head and then it keeps me up for another hour, right? Anybody else have that happen? Only me?

Oh, great. No, I know that we all deal with worry in different ways. And if you've dealt with worry in any capacity, you've come to the same conclusion that I have. What good can worry do? Nothing. What good can it do?

Nothing. Maybe cause you to write a note, oh, I need to take care of this tomorrow, right? Oh, my goodness, I forgot to change my car's oil for the last 12,000 miles. I should probably do that tomorrow. Hey, Siri, set a reminder, you know, change my oil tomorrow.

That's the best that you could get out of it, right? But what good can worry really do? Nothing. Jesus talks about worry. Don't worry. Don't worry about tomorrow.

Today has enough things going on. But what good can prayer do? What good can prayer do?

It can change everything. Prayer can change everything. Philippians chapter four, verse six.

Paul wrote this when he was in a jail cell as well. Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has already done.

I think that second part is actually more important than we may realize. Thank God for what He has done. Yeah, ask God for what you need, but thank God for what He has done. Some of us, we know these things are true, but we still choose to worry, don't we? Yeah, I know I'm supposed to pray. I know I'm supposed to turn my worry into praise and my worry into prayer, but you know, I just can't control myself.

It's just something that I do. I worry about it and I choose to worry and I verbalize it with my family. I tell my family what I'm afraid of and my greatest fears and it stresses your family out knowing these things. How could you even think about something like that, you know? Sometimes you just need to keep that stuff to yourself and ultimately give it to the Lord is what you need to do.

The Lord is what we should ultimately do, but some have taken fear and worry to extreme and you've become like a hypochondriac, right? Like everybody should have a healthy respect and understanding of how germs work, but some people it's like you wash your hands 24-7. You have hand sanitizer on you all the time. You put your, you put it on every time before you eat a meal. You put it on every time after you like touch somebody's shoulder. You touch like a handrail and you're putting it on your kids' hands. You have to wipe everything down, you know, before you sit down at a dinner table like wiping your chair off with hand sanitizer. What is the deal here, okay? Settle down. How about people that wear a mask by themselves in the car? I'm sorry. Look, I understand your concern, but why? You're by yourself, okay? Now listen, I get if you're traveling internationally and you're around a ton of people and you don't want to get sick, I can see the logic of wanting to wear a mask, preventing yourself from getting sick, okay, logical, by yourself in the car with the windows rolled up.

I don't get it. I'm all for cleanliness, but when a fear begins to take over, when that concern becomes a fear and it lords over you and it affects your life to the point where you're unwilling to leave your house, to the point where you're unwilling to let your kids just play and be themselves and be kids and get sick and pick their nose after they touch the handrail and eat the gum off the ground, it's like, I'm not trying to do it, but it's kind of inevitable. If you've had kids, you know. I feel like for everything now there's an official title, like an official phobia, right? Like if you have a slight fear of everything, there is a legitimate documented phobia about that, right? These are some actual phobias that I read about that people actually have. Araki beauty raphobia, fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. I don't know how legitimate that one is. Pagona phobia, fear of beards.

Nice, okay. Genia phobia, fear of chins. Now these two people need to meet each other, right? Tura phobia, the fear of cheese. Oh yeah, I see a grilled cheese and I break out into a cold sweat. And my personal favorite, I'll try and say this without having a stroke, hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, fear of long words.

Nice. They did that just to mess with somebody. You know, people have fears of the weirdest things.

They really will. I used to have arachnophobia. I was terrified of spiders and I still don't really like them, but now it's, yeah, I just expose myself to them long enough and realize, you know what, they don't want to mess with me.

I don't want to mess with them and leave them alone. And you know what the best part is? They kill mosquitoes. I hate mosquitoes more than anything.

And so you know what? I'll tolerate the little daddy long legs in the house in order to kill some of those mosquitoes. That's a positive for me. And so ultimately the point here is instead of allowing your little daddy long legs to control you, exercise your faith and give it to the Lord. Lord, I'm concerned about my children's life. I'm concerned about how I'm going to make ends meet.

I'm concerned about my husband's health. I'm concerned about this thing that's going on, but Lord, this is out of my control. And so I bring it to you. Father, I know that you love me and you love these people and you have good plans for my life. I don't understand what you're doing here, but I trust you and I surrender my will to you. And I ask that you would give me your peace.

That's all you have to do. And you will see that the Lord will meet you where you are at. He will give you that peace. He will help you.

And you know what? The next day, you probably need to come back and do the same thing. His peace isn't going to last you for the rest of your lifetime. It's a daily, sometimes momentary, moment by moment thing that you have to do. Come and surrender it to the Lord. And remember that second part of Philippians 4-6. Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything.

Yes, that's good. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has already done. Thank Him for what He's already done. Past victories can provide present hope. Past victories can provide present hope.

Remember that thing that you were so freaked out about six weeks ago that all you could do was talk about it and somehow it was resolved and you're not worrying about it anymore? Yet, you should probably remember that and go back and thank the Lord for resolving it for you. Make sure that you go back and thank Him for what He has already done. If God did it then, He can do it today. Amen? That brings us to 1 Samuel now, chapter 22. We're going to see the context of what David was in, what David's context was when he wrote Psalm 34.

And so look at this. 1 Samuel, chapter 22, verse 1. So David left Gath. Again, he's on the run from Saul.

He's been running around to do different cities trying to hide out. So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. And then others began coming. Men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented until David was the captain of about 400 men. Until David was the captain of about 400 men. That brings us to number 2, use your distress for God's glory.

Use your distress for God's glory. The most powerful lessons that I have learned as a Christian have not been taught in a 45-minute sermon. Sorry to tell you, I've sat under some great teaching.

I think some of the best teaching in the world. I've heard some of the greatest sermons. And now we can listen to sermons anytime we want on a podcast, on YouTube, whatever it might be. And we can hear these great exhortations.

And we should. We should listen to those things and learn the Bible and take notes. But the most powerful lessons I've learned were not taught in a 45-minute sermon. They were life lessons.

They were life lessons. It was when faith was exercised and lived out in the face of adversity. You hear the stories about different martyrs in the church. Since really the beginning of the church, in the first century, men like Stephen, who were stoned because of their faith. And how even in the face of adversity, being stoned to death, he's calling out to God, asking them, asking God to forgive these men for what they were doing. Saying, I see Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father, walking me into the presence of heaven. That's powerful.

It's powerful. For me, one of the greatest lessons that I learned was on the worst day of my life. It was when my brother Christopher was killed in a car accident on July 24th in 2008. Some of you know that this happened.

Some of you may not. But on that day, when I came home, I saw my dad, the pastor, Greg Laurie, the evangelist. He's preached a million sermons. He's done the funerals.

He's done all these different things. That didn't change one thing when he lost his son. He was just a father grieving over a suffering, painful loss when Christopher went to be with the Lord. And we were all devastated. But what I saw that day, and in the weeks to come, was ultimately that the faith my parents talked about was very real. It was very real, and it was very practical. And it was the faith of the Lord. It was very practical, and it was the thing that gave them hope.

It was the thing that helped them to keep on going. And I realized that this faith that we had was not just something we had on Sunday morning or not just something we practiced in the morning when we had our devotions. It was tangible.

It was thick that you could cut through it like a knife. You felt the presence of the Lord. And I knew, ultimately, that my parents' faith, it was real. That was a lesson that I saw firsthand.

I've shared it before. It's something that still deeply affects me with my brother. In many ways, I miss Christopher now more than ever. I don't think about him every moment and cry about it every day like I once did, but I miss him.

And I think about what he would say or do in different situations. And ultimately, what that does, me missing him, it drives me back to God's promise. And what is God's promise?

That I will see my brother again and that he is alive. And what that does, remembering that promise, it reminds me that God is so good, that he is a good father. If God sustained me through that, he can sustain me through everything. And so when we suffer, the best thing that we can do is, like David, use it for God's glory.

Use it for God's glory. In the midst of David's persecution from Saul, he's literally living in a cave, OK? I don't think we've ever had it that bad, where we're in an argument with our family or something's going on, we're kids. Well, I'm moving out, and we run off and sleep on our friend's couch. I don't think any of us have ever had to sleep in a cave because we've been trying to avoid being murdered by the king of Israel, OK?

We've never had it that bad, so we can just put that aside. In the midst of David's persecution from Saul, these 400 men come to David. He's living in a cave.

He's living in a cave. And these men, they're in trouble, they're in debt, or they're just discontent, and they come to David's side. It's interesting because these 400 men were not coming to David because he was the current king of Israel. It's not like he was giving out, you know, golden chariots or throwing elaborate parties or living in lavish luxury. He wasn't having feasts and doing all these things. He was in a cave running for his life, barely able to scrounge up enough food to sustain himself. And so these 400 men came to David.

Why was that? Why did they come to David when he was in the midst of suffering, in the midst of running for his life? I believe it was two things. Number one, I believe it was the fact that David was with God. David was with God, and God was with David, right? God was with David, and they saw that. David had something the King Saul did not have.

David represented something greater than worldly riches and handsome kings and national recognition. He represented what it meant to have God on your side. He was with him.

He was with him. David represented what it meant to have God walk with him on a daily basis. You know, it's been said, I'd rather have nothing with Jesus than have everything without him. That's what David had. He didn't have a lot, but he had God, and so he had everything.

He had everything, and these men, they were attracted to that. You see, again, as I mentioned, Israelites, they had rejected God as their king. They didn't like the arrangement with the judges, and so they embraced a man like Saul. They wanted him as their king like the other nations had, and they ultimately rejected God's plan, which was to use the judges to rule the Israelites, and they embraced their own. I want to tell you this from first-hand experience. Any time you turn from what God has for you and instead turn to what the world appears to offer you, you will be let down every single time.

Whether you actually get what the world is promising or what usually ends up happening, which the world doesn't deliver on that promise in the first place, and you end up with neither here nor there, you will be let down. And so God's faithfulness to David and David's faithfulness to God is what drew them, and becoming disillusioned with Saul is what drove them away. And so David's distress, his suffering, it was not a deterrent. It wasn't something that pushed people away. It actually was an incentive.

It was an asset. David's strong faith in God in the face of adversity was attractive to these men. I don't know if you've ever seen that before, where you know somebody that's hurting and is suffering, and is going through something difficult that you don't want any part of. You wouldn't want that for yourself, but the faith that they have is so attractive. Wow, there's something really about what you're going through. I can see that God is really there for you, and that's, I want that.

That can be a beautiful thing. And so again, my exhortation to you with the second point, use your distress for God's glory. As you go through different things, as you go through hardship, and people know what's happening, use it for God's glory. Talk about how the Lord is sustaining you. Talk about how He's there for you. Talk about what the Lord is revealing to you in this time, and how you ultimately have the hope of heaven. Yeah, you know what? Jesus even said, in this world you will have tribulation, but take heart.

Why? Not because He's going to make everything on earth better, but because He has overcome the world, and we have the hope of heaven. That's the hope for the believer. So share that with your friends.

Share that with your family and your co-workers. If you want a good example of this, to see what it's like when someone is going through suffering, and to stand on their solid faith, I would encourage you to look up the YouTube video of my dad, where he got up and stood behind the pulpit on Sunday morning, four days after Christopher went to heaven. And he gave a little talk after the guest speaker shared a sermon, and it's just been titled, I Still Believe. I Still Believe. You know, everybody was asking, you know, and kind of concerned, well, what's Pastor Greg going to do? What's he going to say? And the first thing he wanted to share with everyone is, I Still Believe. I Still Believe in the Lord and His faithfulness. And he gave this little talk about 15 minutes long, and if you want to watch it, it's on YouTube.

And if you just Google Greg Laurie, I Still Believe, it was uploaded in 2008. It's amazing. It's moving, and that's our pastor. And so, use your distress for God's glory. Let's look back now at Psalm chapter 34, as we close this message.

Verse seven, the angel of the Lord, David says, encamps around all those who fear him, and he delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in him. Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints. There is no want to those who fear him. The young lion lacks and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

And that brings us to point number three. Lastly, God will provide and deliver. God will provide and deliver. The reason we can come to God with our stress, with our suffering, with our problems, is because God is our refuge, and ultimately because our suffering for God's glory is because God is our provider and our deliverer. We can use our distress, we can use those things for God's glory because he is our provider and our deliverer. Psalm 46 says, God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, even though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.

Selah. God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Listen, the reality is everything we need, God has. Everything we want, God has.

He is the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He can give us anything that we want as long as it's good for us, and he can deliver us out of our suffering, and he can be with us in our suffering. Anytime, again, you turn from what God has for you and instead turns to what the world appears to offer, you will be let down. Not only will you be let down, you'll be led astray and ultimately into bondage and maybe even death.

That's right. Even what may seem like small compromises can make big directional changes. You know, think about your spiritual rudder. What is it guiding you towards? Is it driving you towards the Lord and his will for your life? Or are you saying, yeah, I like that true north heading of going straight towards God and what he has, but I kind of want to go over to the left just a little bit because I want both. I want what the world has and I want what God has.

Well, what's going to happen? Over time, you're going to get further and further and further away from God. And when you finally arrive at your destination, you're going to realize you're a million miles off course. That's what happens when you compromise. Little compromises make big directional changes in life. That's why Jesus said in Matthew 7, uh, 714, the narrow is, excuse me, narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life.

And there are a few people who find it. I heard the story about, um, a group of people that wanted to go sightseeing at Antarctica. And so they lived in New Zealand and so they boarded this plane in 1979, 257 people. And they got on this plane to Antarctica and the pilots, while they were plotting their course, made a two-degree error in the flight coordinates.

And ultimately it placed the flight 28 miles east of the planned route. Now the good news is Antarctica is a continent, right? So like even two degrees off, and you're still going to hit Antarctica.

I'm not sure how much there is to see in Antarctica, a lot of ice, maybe some penguins. Uh, I'm not sure what there was, but they wanted to go there. Well, the incorrect coordinates put the plane in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano at 12,000 feet high. What happened was the incorrect, uh, the ultimately the pilots looking for a landmark, uh, descended to a lower altitude for a better view of the landscape. And unbeknownst to them, they were off by those two degrees and the plane crashed into the side of that volcano, killing everybody on board. And this tragedy occurred only because of what? Two degrees, just two degrees difference over a couple of thousand miles.

And it was enough to kill everybody on board. I share this because I think it illustrates the point well of what happens when you get off course. Just a couple of degrees can be deadly for you spiritually. Oh, you want to compromise. You want to get a couple of degrees off course of what God has for you.

You want to embrace what the world has. It can take you off course and it can ultimately lead you to hell. Now, I'm not saying that the sins we struggle with on a daily basis are enough to cause you to lose your salvation.

But what I am saying is that when you reject God's will and you pursue your own will and those things that God is revealing to you that on a daily basis, these are sin and you need to confess these to the Lord and ultimately repent of them. If you tolerate those things for long enough, man, the results can be deadly. The results can be deadly. Small compromises lead to big failures. It could be today that you're here and you've made a small compromise and it's gotten you off course.

You veered off to the side when you should have stayed in that lane. And now you're seeing the effects of it. You're beginning to see the consequences for your actions. Listen, like those 400 men who were following after Saul and they got themselves into debt, they got themselves into trouble, they found themselves discontent with all the promises of having a worldly king following after a worldly ruler and they're realizing that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Like those 400 men, you need to repent and come to the God of the Bible as your source of deliverance and your source of provision.

Everything you need, God has. When those 400 men came to David, they were running from their sin. They were running from their debts and they were ultimately running from their discontentment.

And what did they do? They submitted themselves to David's leadership. And David's leadership as he was surrendered to the Lord and he was following God so closely, he was able to turn that group of 400 men into some of the mighty men of David. He turned them into a strong army that ultimately was able to install him as king.

The story is we close now. It really serves as an analogy for our spiritual journey. It serves as an analogy for our spiritual journey. Just as David's followers, those 400 men, recognized his anointed kingship and committed to him, we are called to recognize Jesus Christ as our rightful king. They saw David was the rightful king. We are called to recognize Jesus as our rightful king and shift our alliance from the kingdom of darkness, which then, proverbially speaking, was the kingdom of Saul. What men chose, he failed.

He was not after God's own heart. And they turned to David and lived under his guidance and his provision and the promise of future reward. Alan Redpath, a famous preacher who's now with the Lord, said this, if you understand the spiritual significance of our day, in whose kingdom are you living? To which king are you giving your allegiance? The kingdom of Saul or the kingdom of David?

And I would ask you the same question today. Whose kingdom are you living for? Are you pursuing the kingdom of you and what you think is best and what the world tells you is going to make you happy? Or are you pursuing what Christ has for you and the principles that he teaches you?

Listen, I want to tell you today that whether you veered off course or you're just straight up heading 180 degrees, the opposite direction, the answer is the same, and it is to repent and to come to Jesus. That is his plan for you. That is his will for you. And I promise you, what he offers you today is better than anything this world could ever offer.

And you know what? There's no shame. There's no guilt. I've never woken up at 11 o'clock at night and felt like a cold, breaking out into a cold sweat because I read my Bible for too long that day.

I can tell you that. Spending time with Jesus is the thing that you were created to do. And so, in closing, I want to extend to you that invitation, that you would put your faith in Christ, that you would turn from your sin, and that you would repent and follow him that much more closely.

Would you pray with me? Heavenly Father, we thank you just for your will for our lives. Lord, we thank you that Jesus, you will be the king of this world. And we know that while Satan is here, he is the prince of the power of the air, and he does have authority. But Jesus, you are the ultimate authority, and there is coming a day when you will throw him out of this earth, and you will create a new heaven and a new earth, and you will be the rightful ruler, and you will reign over all of heaven and earth.

And we look forward to that day. But until then, we want to live lives that are under your kingship. Whose kingdom do we belong to? The kingdom of the earth. Lord, we want to be your servants.

We want you to be the Lord of our lives. And so, Father, we confess the sin that we have in our lives, the things that we struggle with, the things that we tolerate because, oh, they're socially acceptable. It's okay to do this. Oh, it's legal. Oh, it's appropriate.

This person does it and gets away with it. Why can't I? Lord, we confess. We confess, Lord, that we have fallen short.

We confess that we are not where we need to be, each and every one of us. And, Lord, we just need you that much more. We need you, Jesus.

We need your presence. We need your will, and we need the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Would you just refresh our conscience, Lord, to see the things in our lives that we have tolerated over the last weeks and months and maybe even years and decades? That, Father, have gotten us off course.

Would you help us to see those things? Lord, we repent of them, and we look to you, Jesus, our rightful King. We thank you that we are heirs to the throne, Lord, that you have made us your children. Jesus, you didn't come to die just to liberate us and set the captives free.

You adopted us into your family. And so, Lord, we thank you for that, and we praise you. And, Lord, our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, and we're praying here together. There may be some who have not yet made that public decision to turn from their sin and to turn to Jesus. You haven't yet called out to the Lord and asked them to be your Savior and your Lord. Well, I want to tell you today, you need to do that.

There does need to be a moment in time where you make that decision, and I want you to make that decision right here, right now. Whether you're watching at our Riverside campus or on the island of Maui, or you're watching here at Harvest Orange County or in one of our rooms outside of the sanctuary, wherever you are, I want you to know you can pray this prayer, and you can call out to God and make this decision to follow Him from this moment forward. Would you like to do that? Would you like to pray that prayer?

If so, just repeat this out loud after me. This is you talking to God now. Pray this prayer. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner, but I know Jesus is the Savior, and I turn to Him now. I make Him the King of my life and the Lord of my life, and I ask that you would fill me with your Holy Spirit.

Give me the worldview that you have and see things the way that you see them. Lord, would you help me? Would you remove this burden of guilt and shame that I carry with me? Thank you, Jesus, and it's in your name I pray. Amen. Amen. God bless you that prayed just now. That's amazing.

Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to And to find out how to know God personally, go to That's 1-800-HELP-GOD.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-26 04:25:47 / 2024-05-26 04:45:00 / 19

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