Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, The worries of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace. This is Lecce Bradlee Jr. welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Our theme from Psalm 119 today is Revive Us Again.
And is that not a subject in which we all should have great interest? I hope that the message will be a blessing to you. If you'd like to help with the support of the program, you can go to our website at BaptistBibleHour.org. We turn once more to Psalm 119. This is the longest of all the Psalms.
We've been working our way through it for several weeks now. It's really an amazing portion of scripture when we see what a variety of subjects are dealt with, how God's name is exalted, how much practical instruction is given us as to how we are to function in our daily walk to the glory of God. We begin with verse 153. Consider mine affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget thy law. Plead my cause and deliver me, quicken me according to thy word.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they seek not thy statutes. Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgments. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies, yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
I beheld the transgressors and was grieved, because they kept not thy word. Consider how I love thy precepts, quicken me, O Lord, according to thy loving kindness. Thy word is true from the beginning. And every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. Our subject for this portion of scripture, revive us again.
We note three particular categories. First, affliction, a fact in the believer's life. Secondly, quickening, a need in the believer's life.
Thirdly, knowledge, a blessing in the believer's life. Psalm 34, 19 tells us, many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. As we start at the scriptures, we are repeatedly reminded that God's people will endure afflictions.
You need not be surprised when troubles come. It is a part of life. I think it might be helpful to give a dictionary definition of the word affliction, as basic as that may seem.
I occasionally talk to people who have a little difficulty really understanding what is involved. Webster's dictionary says, The cause of continued pain of body or mind, as in sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. So, there can be many things that will touch our lives that can be adequately described as affliction. There are some troubles that are sent to us directly, according to God's sovereign purpose, to humble us, to teach us, to train us. There are some troubles that we bring on ourselves. We can bring physical pain, mental pain, and anguish because of our own carelessness, or because of our own rebellion and disobedience. There are some things that may touch our life that God simply was not pleased to intervene and turn that event in another direction.
And so, even in that, He has a purpose. God uses, then, affliction to teach His people, to bring them to the place that they are truly dependent upon Him. So, there are a variety of afflictions. As the psalmist here says, Consider mine affliction and deliver me. Though there's a recognition that God may teach us in our troubles, it's not that we're out looking for trouble and saying, I just love to have pain and affliction.
No, but when it does come, 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 1 to 4 tell us that we're to count it all joy when you fall into divers' temptations or testings, because the ultimate end is to bring you to spiritual maturity. Well, first of all, when we think of the need to be delivered, we think of the troubles and adversities that can come our way, we recognize that we have a great adversary. 1 Peter chapter 5, verse 8 says, Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist steadfast in faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. Satan is our great enemy.
He is described as the accuser of the brethren. His work is to entice us, confuse us, distort the Word of God, misrepresent it, cause us to be influenced by false teaching, by the humanistic thinking that's prevalent in our day. And that's why Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians chapter 6, verse 11, that we are to put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Satan's techniques are very deceitful. That's why he calls them the wiles of the devil. He doesn't come at you in such a form that you immediately recognize this is Satan. He transforms himself into an angel of light. He presents concepts and theories and ideas that sound reasonable and do appeal to the flesh.
They make you feel better about yourself, but they deny the truth about God. When you're being attacked by Satan, this indeed is a tremendous, painful, difficult situation. Sometimes you may not immediately recognize that that's what you're experiencing. I'm just having a terribly difficult time here, trying to get my mind on track, trying to get from the Word of God what I really understand that I need. Even as I go there and read, I find that I'm easily distracted. I find that I become discouraged because I read portions and think I just don't understand it. Who am I to try to read the Bible?
It's too difficult a book. Many things can happen when Satan is launching his attack, but as Paul tells us in the Ephesian letter, we must be very careful to put on that helmet of salvation, protecting our minds so that we're having our mind renewed and thinking correctly. And then afflictions may come as a result of the enemies that oppose us, those who would persecute us. Verse 157 says, Many are my persecutors and my enemies, yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
Many. He didn't have just a few persecutors, not just a few who opposed him, not just a few enemies, but many enemies. David talks about this very frequently, and of course the fact is that the more closely you walk with the Lord, the more boldness you have in giving your witness and testimony, the more opposition you're going to have. If you're trying to fit in with the world, you're living like the world lives, you're not going to get much opposition.
Nobody's going to criticize you. But Jesus warned us that if we're serving Him, we will have enemies. Gospel of John chapter 15 to the 19th verse says, If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. And that can be a great trial, a great burden, a great affliction. It may be someone that had been close to you in times past, you consider them a friend, but because now you're taking a stand for what you know to be right, you're holding true to the word of God, you're considered to be narrow-minded, a religious fanatic, not deep in your understanding. They ridicule you, they oppose you.
It might be a family member, how difficult it is when those troubles come within a family. But Jesus warned that that could easily be the case, that there would be family members in opposition to each other because there are those who are committed to Him, and those that hate His message, hate the Gospel, and hate those who follow Him. And then there's an ongoing struggle against sin. So, God's children have a new nature, they've been born of the Holy Spirit. They now are made to love righteousness and hate sin, they're still an old nature. The old Adam nature is still there. I don't hear it so much anymore, but years ago I used to hear people claim that they had had a second work of grace and the old Adam nature had been eradicated. And I think one of the meanest people I ever met in my life was one of those who said the old nature was gone.
And I was sure that something terrible had happened in the process because this person was mean to her own family and to most everybody else that she met. I'm sure that you've discovered that you still have a problem with your human nature. Maybe you feel like you make some progress from time to time, you want to overcome the weakness of the flesh, and in some areas you might assume, I've gotten this thing under control. And then it lifts up its old ugly head and you find out that there's still pride and there's still jealousy and there's still a desire for that which is of the world and that which is of the flesh and that which is of the devil itself.
Yes, that's an ongoing struggle. David expressed this in Psalm 51 in the eighth verse. He said, Make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. You talk about pain. Literally his bones were not broken, but he felt that way. He felt like it was a broken bone after he was convicted of his sin.
He could hardly believe that he had done what he had done. Oh, he says, Hide thy face from my sins and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. I see there's a problem.
Lord, I need renewal. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. In other words, he's acknowledging if the Lord did cast him away, he really couldn't complain.
If it was going to be dealt with on the basis of his conduct, he deserved nothing but judgment. But he says, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit. Even the Apostle Paul in Romans 7 verse 24 was said, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Sometimes in talking to people who have had a real battle with particular sins and addictions will say, Oh, it's so frustrating. I seem to take one step forward and then two steps backwards. You just don't know how hard it is to gain victory in this matter. But maybe it's one sin in your life and another sin in this person's life, and one weakness here and another weakness there, but the fact is we all have the same challenge to deal with, the old fall-in-the-demic nature. What a struggle.
The struggle against sin. And then the troubles of life, just the day-to-day troubles. It doesn't take long if you enter into conversation with somebody and they're going to tell you like it really is. You know, it's nice to greet people. How are things going?
Very well. And certainly we don't want to have a murmuring spirit and a complaining attitude, but if you have enough conversation to find out some of the things they're dealing with, if not personally some of the things that are going on in the lives of their family members, you'll soon discover that there's trouble everywhere you turn. Trouble of one sort or another. Even the beloved Apostle Paul, who was so mightily used of God, constantly faced a variety of troubles.
2 Corinthians 11 verse 26, he says, In journeyings, often in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils with the heathen, in perils of the city, in perils of the wilderness, in perils of the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings, often in hunger and thirst, in fastings, often in cold and nakedness, beside those things that are without that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. This man knew what trouble was about. We would probably be amazed if there was some way that trouble could be weighed. If the troubles that are faced by this congregation just took time for each person that was willing just to open up and tell the whole picture, the whole story they would describe, here are the troubles that I'm dealing with. Here's the trouble of my own life. Here's some trouble going on in the lives of my children or other relatives. I'm concerned about these troubles, trying to deal with them, but it's a real battle.
It's a real struggle as I go along. Trouble is a part of life. Because we're living in a fallen world, we have a fallen nature and we're never going to find perfection here. The wonderful joy that we have is to anticipate the day that trouble will be over.
Sin and its effect will all be behind us and there will be total perfect contentment in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forever. But while we're here, we'll still have troubles. And not only the troubles, some of which are common to all men, but that unique trouble which belongs only to the children of God.
We're talking about spiritual troubles, deep conflicts within. I found occasionally in talking about this part of the Christian's experience that somebody would say, Well, preacher, I've never been quite so far in the dark as what you described. I've never been that deep in the valley.
I'm not suggesting that you go on a trip to find the lowest place in the valley that you can discover, but I'm just telling you that if you haven't been there yet, you may discover it someday unexpectedly. And if you can know in advance, you're not exploring new territory, that the pilgrims of God have traveled that path for many, many years before you. Psalm 77, verse 1, I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice, and He gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord, my soul ran in the night, and ceased not, my soul refused to be comforted.
Have you ever been there? I've talked to people, it didn't matter what verse you quoted, what you wanted to say, or how you wanted to help. It was like, well, none of that applies to me. They just reached the point, they were traveling in such darkness and so near to despair, they refused comfort. I remembered God, I was troubled, I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah, thou holdest mine eyes waking, I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times, I called to remembrance my soul in the night, I communed with my own heart, and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever, and will He be favorable no more?
Have you ever been there? When you tried to pray, and He didn't hear you. You had to say with Jeremiah, as he described it in the third chapter of the book of Lamentations, I cry and shout, and He shutteth out my prayer. One for a long time, when it seemed God would not hear you. Is His mercy clean gone forever?
Does this promise fail forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah, nothing more difficult than spiritual trouble, spiritual conflict. You go to the Word, you find no comfort. You attempt to go to God in prayer, you feel like He doesn't hear you. You can't put your finger on it. You're walking in darkness.
How difficult is that time? But, comfort is provided. Affliction is a fact of life for the believer, but the psalmist is here praying that God will hear him, consider mine affliction, Lord look upon it, take note of it, and deliver me. Deliver me in the midst of my adversities. How good to know that though we have this great adversary, the devil, he is as a roaring lion, he does transform himself into an angel of light, he does try to use his wiles to confuse us and ensnare us, but in the book of 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 9 it says, The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.
The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation. Though Satan is a powerful foe, he is not omnipotent as is God, he is not omniscient as is our God, and therefore with the Lord on our side we can anticipate victory. We learn that we cannot fight the battle in our own strength, but as we walk by faith and trust in our God and put on the whole armor that He's provided for us, we can have victory, even over Satan himself. And though he may accuse you, bring things before you that would cause you to doubt and to fear and to question your own relationship with the Lord, you're able to know that if God be for us, none can effectually be against us.
Yes, the God that we worship is greater than our greatest adversary. And then we talk about the world hating us. Persecutions come, people slandering you, speaking evil of you, misquoting you, misrepresenting you. Do we have any hope in such matters? Jesus said, John chapter 16 verse 33, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. That's good news, isn't it?
You say, the world hates me. But the one you're serving has overcome the world, and therefore you can have confidence in Him. This is the comfort we receive when we're looking to the right source. What about this struggle with sin? What about the weakness of this old human nature? What about the times you'd get downright disgusted with yourself and say, at this stage of life I thought I'd be farther along? I didn't think I would have some of these same difficulties. I didn't imagine that my mind would sometimes wander to such evil things and such terrible thoughts would come to me and things that sometimes are attractive and appeal to me, that they would have had any appeal at all. I thought that would be all behind me. This struggle with sin, this temptation that I face, is extremely difficult.
Is there any hope? Ah yes. Hebrews chapter 2 verse 17, Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things, pertaining to God to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Of course, he speaks of our Savior Jesus Christ. He was made like unto his brethren. He came here, though he was God, he came here as a perfect man. That he might be a merciful and faithful high priest. That he might make reconciliation for the sins of the people. And he did that when he went to the cross, paid the price. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
So we come to him, Lord, I read in your word, thou art a merciful and faithful high priest. You have been tempted at all points, like as we are, yet without sin. And your word says you're able to help them that are tempted. Lord, I'm facing temptation.
I need help. You have in advance the promise of God that he will help you to overcome it. The sad thing is that often when temptation is at hand, the last thing the person is thinking about is asking help of God. That's one reason it's so important to memorize scripture. So that at the very time of need, the Holy Spirit may bring to your mind that person that you have read and meditated upon in the past, and use it to give you the victory over temptation at the time that you needed it most. What about the troubles of life that often weigh us down, or such a heavy load to carry? Isn't it interesting that after the apostle described all of the troubles that we read about in 2 Corinthians 11, that he gets to the 30th verse and says, Thomas needs glory. I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities.
I say, Bob, I don't get it. You've described all this trouble. You've talked about all these burdens. You've talked about what you have to face, and you said you're going to glory in your infirmities.
Why is that? Well, the next chapter tells us about the Lord giving him a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. Verse 8 says, For this thing I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. So troubles come rather than throwing up your hands in despair, rather than saying, I can't go on, I can't make it. You admit, I cannot do it myself, but I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Therefore, I'm going to glory in my infirmities, because it's then that the strength of Christ is made complete and perfect. It's in the time of our weakness.
It's in the time that we come before him and say, Lord, I am nothing. I have no strength. I have no plan to pull out of a hat and resolve all of this. I can't get through it.
I can't make it. But I'm coming to thee, asking for thy grace and thy mercy. And God has promised to give it to us. How wonderful to know that we're not alone. We're not without help.
God is our defense and our helper. I'm glad you've been with us today. If the program is a blessing to you, tell someone else that they can hear the teaching from God's Word at this same time each day on this station.
I hope you'll write us at Baptist Bible Hour, Mach 17, 037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Till we greet you tomorrow, this is LeSara 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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