Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, Thou for resolve, my God and King, Thou triumphs of His grace.
This is Ms. Harry Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is calling, Then I know the sins of birth be said on every hand, Thou and fear and things of birth in vain to me are calling, None of these shall move me from you, O land. I'm living on the mountain, underneath the cloudless sky, My God, I'm drinking at the fountain, and never shall run dry, O yes, I'm feasting on the manna, from a bountiful supply, For I am dwelling in you, O land. Far below the storm of doubt, upon the world is beating, Sons of men in battle long, the enemy will stand, Safe and high within the castle of God's word retreating, Nothing there can reach me, this beautiful land. I'm living on the mountain, underneath the cloudless sky, My God, I'm drinking at the fountain, and never shall run dry, O yes, I'm feasting on the manna, from a bountiful supply, For I am dwelling in you, O land. Hearing hear the words of God, I sing in contemplation, Hearing now his blessed voice, I see the way he bled, Dwelling in the Spirit, here I learn of full salvation, Gladly will I tarry in you, O land. I'm living on the mountain, underneath the cloudless sky, My God, I'm drinking at the fountain, and never shall run dry, O yes, I'm feasting on the manna, from a bountiful supply, For I am dwelling in you, O land. We continue with our section in Psalm 119, beginning with verse 169, entitled, The Prayer of a Wandering Sheep.
I hope that you were right. Let us know that you've listened. Our mailing address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Shall we gather at the river, where bright angels feed and trod, With its crystals high forever, flowing by the throne of God? Yes, we'll gather at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river, Gather with the saints at the river, that falls by the throne of God. Soon we'll reach our silver river, soon our pale provincial seas, Soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace. Yes, we'll gather at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river, Gather with the saints at the river, that falls by the throne of God.
Yes, we'll gather at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river, Gather with the saints at the river, that falls by the throne of God. David is praying for understanding. I want to be able to discern the difference between that which is true and that which is false. We find in the book of Hebrews, reference to this in chapter 5, verse 13, it says, Everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Talking about using the word of God. This is how discernment is developed. If you're not in the word, you're not reading the word, you're not meditating on the word, you're not hearing the word preached, you're not going to know the difference. You're not going to have spiritual discernment. Discernment is not something that you pray for and God gives it to you in your sleep and you wake up in the morning and you've got it. No, you get it from his word. And that's what he's praying about. Lord, give me understanding how?
According to thy word. There is a need for our cry to come near to the Lord. Let my cry come near. In other words, I'm not just going through the routine and formality of prayer. I want to know that my cry is coming near to the Lord. But you see, there can be obstacles in the way.
You can be crying, you can be praying, you can be saying words, but they're not going anywhere. The idols of the heart can interfere with effective prayer. 1 John 5 21 says, keep yourselves from idols. Oh, you may say, I've never bowed down before a little image, a little idol that somebody's made.
I wouldn't think of that. No, we're talking about something far deeper. We're talking about the idols of the heart. Or you can make an idol out of money, an idol out of your job, an idol out of entertainment. An idol out of trying to dress like the world.
Trying to impress the world. Idol can be made out of many things. With an idol in our heart, we're not going to have an effective prayer life. So, we need to search and try our ways and pray that the Lord will help us.
Search me, try me, make me to know what's within me is the psalmist's prayer. Your prayer can fail to come near to the Lord if there's a failure to forgive. Jesus taught us that if we fail to forgive, neither will our Heavenly Father forgive us. Sometimes people carry bitterness and grudges over an extended period of time. They will not forgive and they fail to realize that they are the ones that are suffering the dire consequences of an unforgiving spirit. It's like, if I dig my heels in here and determine not to forgive, then those people that I'm not forgiving are going to be punished.
No, it's not them, it's you. Failure to forgive is in hindrance to your prayers. An unsurrendered will, that determination that I am going to do what I consider to be right, the fact that you have not humbled yourself, you have not truly surrendered your will in every detail in God's service. James chapter 4 verse 6, But he giveth more grace, wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. People get the idea, well if it's talking about the proud, it means somebody that's all rared back and boasting and bragging on themselves, or they just kind of carry themselves in such a way you can tell that they've got a proud spirit. Listen, pride means that you haven't humbled yourself.
Pride is the exact opposite of humility, of submission. So verse 7 says, Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Now I would ask you today, have you truly submitted yourself to God? If you have, that means that when you read His Word, you're not going to argue against it.
You're not going to say, I know it must mean something else. I just don't think that applies to me. You're not going to resist the preaching of His Word. I say, I think the preacher is just a little too hard on that.
I grant you, if I or anybody else should come in this pulpit and express personal opinion, there's no scriptural grounds for it, you have every right to reject it. But when we bring you God's Word, a thus saith the Lord, you are responsible to believe it, to obey it, to practice it, to submit to it. And if your will is not surrendered to the Lord, your prayers are not going to go far. You're trying to talk God into doing things your way? You're working at a losing project.
You've got to submit. You've got to surrender to say, I'm willing to do things God's way. I want to know exactly what His will is for me. I want my daily life as it is right now to be what God would have it to be.
And if He has a place of service for me, if He has some things for me to do later on in life, I don't want to just sit around twiddling my thumbs, wait until something special comes along. I want to do everything I can at the moment, but then be willing, whatever that might be, in time to come. Whatever the place of service, however God would use you, to have a submissive, surrendered will.
I'm willing to do what He would have me to do. So, due to the fact that there are many hindrances that arise, causing our prayers not to come near to the Lord, but just to be the repetition of words, confession is needed. Confession is needed. Psalm 32, David, in spite of the fact that he was a sweet singer of Israel, a man after God's own heart, he was but a man. He had some terrible downfalls, but when David was convicted of his sin, he confessed. Psalm 32 verse 5 said, I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgaveth the iniquity of my sin, Selah. Oh, how good to know that, that when we confess our sins, He forgives us. Have you gone to Him to confess some of the sins that have plagued you?
Have there been some idols of your heart that you've held onto? Some things where you know that change was in order, but you weren't making the change? You haven't submitted? Have you confessed that to Him? Have you confessed to Him that you have failed to forgive and prayed, Lord, help me to have a forgiving spirit? Forgive me for not having forgiven, but from this day forward, I want to have that kind of a spirit. Be sure that prayer is not just a formality. It's good to have a habit of prayer, but if it's just a matter of saying, it's time to pray my morning prayer, it's time to pray my evening prayer, and you're just going through words and it's not a prayer from the heart, it's idle, it means nothing. So David is saying, let the supplication, let my supplication come before thee, deliver me according to thy word. It's an earnest, sincere prayer.
We want to pray because we love to seek Him, we find pleasure in it, it's a delight to be seeking the Lord and coming before Him and unburdening our hearts. Back in verse 145, he said, I cried with my whole heart, hear me, O Lord, I will keep thy statutes. This isn't a half-hearted thing, this isn't just compliance with certain rules that have been laid down for me, I seek thee with my whole heart, I cried unto thee, save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
See there's a need also to understand the basis on which we're coming to Him. If you become confused about that, you'll put off coming to the Lord with a confession and an acknowledgement and a pouring out of your heart because you say, well I'm not making much progress and I've failed so dramatically and I've come short and that's been over a long period of time and what's the use of coming? But when you understand that you're coming to the throne of grace, that you might find mercy gives you a whole different outlook. Hebrews chapter 4 verse 15, for we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly. That's an amazing expression to me, you'd think that with all of our faults and failures we'd just have to come so timidly to the throne wondering if indeed the scepter of mercy would be extended but He's already told us we can come boldly to the throne. Remember when Esther came before the king, she came with some apprehension, will He extend the scepter, will my life be spared? But you don't have to come with that kind of apprehension, God says you can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need. Do you know any time that's not a time of need?
Would you say that Monday may be a time of need but Tuesday you'll have it all ironed out and you won't need it. Seven days a week is a time of need, mornings a time of need, afternoons a time of need so you've got to keep coming and find grace, grace to help in the time of need. So you're coming not because you're worthy and deserving but you're coming because your cries based on the mercy of God. Chapter 10, Hebrews chapter 10 verse 21 says, and having a high priest over the house of God let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
You can come then with assurance that God is going to hear you when you come not defending yourself not making excuses for yourself but laying bare your soul and acknowledging Lord I have sinned and I ask for forgiveness. In verse 173 he says, let thine hand help me for I have chosen thy precepts. Here's a strong commitment, I have chosen thy precepts.
The lack of a determined choice is often the reason for our faltering. You fail to reach the point to say with Joshua, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The commitment is made, this is my decision, this is my choice. I'm going to serve him, I'm going to put him first, I'm going to seek him. Lord, he says, let thine hand help me. Help me because I have chosen thy precepts that my choice is made.
This is going to be the guide for my life. This is where I'm looking, this is what I'm studying, this is what I'm meditating upon. Can you say you have made such a choice? Here when we studied Psalm 27 and the Lord said, seek ye my face, and David's response was, thy face Lord, will I seek.
What about you? What has been your response to the calls of God and his word? When he tells you, seek ye my face, are you doing that? Do you seek his face every day? Do you seek his face in every decision you make? Do you seek his face in every part of your life?
Seek ye my face. And then finally, there's a shepherd who cares. He doesn't deal with that directly in this passage, but it's implied because he says, I have gone astray like a lost sheep, seek thy servant. Lord, I admit in my wandering, I need to be sought. And the fact that he's asking God to seek him indicates that he believes that he will. And the Lord is the good shepherd that will seek him.
Let's look at the 34th chapter of the book of Ezekiel, where it talks about how God indeed does that very thing. Verse 11 of Ezekiel 34, for thus saith the Lord God, behold I, even I, with both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep and will deliver them out of all the places where they've been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
That's good to know, isn't it? That as the good shepherd, he seeks out his sheep. And when we realize there's a need to be sought out, yes, he seeks his sheep initially. In reaching those that were given to him, he said, I lay down my life for the sheep. And he says, my sheep know my voice and they follow me. He has called them and drawn them to himself. But in the wanderings that yet follow, we need for him to seek us.
David said in Psalm 23 in the third verse, he restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. He's the one that leads.
I've got to have his leadership. The shepherd will seek his sheep. He'll seek them out even though they try to hide. When Jonah bought passage on a ship to go in the opposite direction where the Lord had directed him to go, he obviously didn't have the Lord on his mind when he laid down for a nap in the hold of the ship. But the Lord sought him out.
He knew where he was and he set a storm that was so fierce that the little ship was about to go down. God seeks out his sheep. God seeks out his sheep. And if you have attempted to take refuge down in the hold of a ship thinking nobody's going to see me here, you're trying to hide out and run from the Lord, you can't do it. God will seek you out. Whom the Lord loves, he chastens and scourges every son whom he receiveth. May it be our prayer as it was with the psalmist, Lord, seek me, seek me, I need to be sought.
God will provide for his sheep. The first verse of this twenty-third Psalm, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. So whatever the need may be, I'm not talking about our carnal greedy wants and desires, but I'm talking about the necessities to meet our spiritual need that we may effectively serve God and put him first in every detail of our life. It's interesting when we look at the language of the apostle Paul, talking about his experience and how God was dealing with him, even this faithful, wonderful, outstanding servant. Still the Lord had to deal with him in a very unique way to bring him to a place of total dependency upon the Lord.
And he says, when I'm weak, then am I strong? He gives us a view of our insufficiency and the sufficiency of Christ all at the same time. Here's my weakness, but here's the sufficiency of Christ. My grace is sufficient for thee. How wonderful to realize that when we are keenly aware of that need, that what we need is provided for us by our great shepherd.
There is a shepherd that cares. In verse 156 of this 119th psalm, David says, Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgments. Great are thy tender mercies.
I don't have to be afraid that the shepherd is not going to have an ample supply. Great are thy mercies. Verse 65 said, Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word. Thou hast taken care of me. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, and I am trusting thee. Therefore my prayer is, I have gone astray like a lost sheep, seek thy servant. For I do not forget thy commandments, I know what they are, I have pledged myself to them, but in my weakness I am sometime wandering, I have strayed, Lord, seek me out. Don't give up on me.
Don't turn away. You say, well, it's really necessary to pray that kind of a prayer. And then people say, you know, if God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us, why should we pray, Lord, do not forsake me? That's cause, that's biblical to pray that way.
Have you ever not felt the need of it? Pray, Lord, don't forsake me in this dark hour. Lord, be my help.
Come to my rescue. This kind of language is repeated over and over in the scripture. Yes, our shepherd will care for us, but he likes for us to tell him we're interested in his care.
We desperately need it and he delights to provide it. And the shepherd will indeed keep the sheep. John chapter 10 verse 27, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
I and my Father are one. The shepherd keeps the sheep. What a wonderful, wonderful portion of scripture is this 119th Psalm. And when we get to the end, the psalmist is acknowledging I have a tendency to go astray. But Lord, let my cry come near unto thee and when I do falter, seek thy servant. Then Lord, my tongue shall speak of thy word for all thy commandments are righteousness. My lips shall utter praise when thou hast taught me thy statutes. May we be careful to respond in this manner and be ready always to seek his praise. To praise him for his goodness, for his mercy, for drawing us back. He said before I was afflicted I went astray. The affliction itself sometimes is painful but have you not had at times to say, Lord, I thank thee for the affliction. Where would I be if it hadn't have come?
Where would I be today? Lord, if you had not sought me out, stirred up my nest, dealt with me forcibly, I wouldn't be where I am. Lord, just stay after me and keep seeking me out and I'll praise thy great name. And I'm glad you've been with us today. If the message is a blessing to you and you want to help keep it on this station, you can make a donation at our website at baptistbiblehour.org. To greet you next time, this is LaSara Bradley, Jr., bidding you goodbye and may God bless you. Praising my Savior, Praising my Savior, Praising my Savior, All the day long.
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