Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, Thou the resolve, my God and King, Thou triumphs of His grace. This is L. Sarah Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Master, oh, why do the clouds hang low?
Why does the sun no longer glow? Why is my going so state and slow Over the sands of time? Through the dark skies, oh, let me see Glimmerings of eternity Holding a welcoming light for me Over the path divine Give us the courage to bear our cross Counting our life as home alone Sweeten the purging of every cross Bringing us forth as one Tell us, oh Lord, thou art not far Come in thy love right where we are Oh, for a gleam of that great day's star Shining within our soul Life is a tangle of toil and care Doubts and dark tears so hard to bear Frighten our soul from its power of prayer When thou art far away Grant us through faith an open door Looking beyond this earthly shore Where the poor pilgrim will love no more In that eternal day We bring you part two of the message, The Word is Our Guide. I hope it'll be a blessing to you indeed. This is a great truth that should always be applied in every detail of our life.
If you would like to write to us, which I hope you will, our address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Well then, let's think about it from the standpoint of personal experience. You may reach the place where you're studying the Bible, but say, all right, if Satan is the great deceiver, how can I always distinguish the difference as to whether this is light that God has enabled me to see and enjoy, and this is in harmony with the truth of God's Word, or this is something that is deceptive?
Well, there's some tests that we can apply. Let's say you're going through some deep struggles in your life. It can be brought on by a variety of circumstances, but maybe you've read some person in the scripture that was deeply convicting, and so you just say, I don't stack up to that.
Something's terribly wrong with me. Or you're going through a time of coldness and you say, my heart's so cold, I just don't feel like I'm enjoying the presence of the Lord, I don't feel like I can pray like I once did, you know, maybe I've been deceived in the whole matter, so I think I'll give up. I think I'll give up. Now, how are you going to test whether your conclusion that you ought to give up is simply being honest because you've decided that maybe you were deceived to start with, or that this is Satan attacking you to discourage you? Well, let's look at some scripture, Psalm 73, verse 1, Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped, for I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Have you ever been there, where you felt like, my feet are just about to slip out from under me, I don't think I can stand much longer. Now, in this particular case, the psalmist, Asaph, was envious of the wicked. He looked around at those that didn't even profess to love God or serve God, and they seemed to be having an easier time than he was. He said, I don't get it, I'm trying my best and it looks like I just have one problem after another. He said in the 13th verse, Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain and washed my hands in innocency, for all the day long have I been plagued and chastened every morning.
What's the use? I've tried to do what's right, I've cleansed my hands, but it hasn't gotten me anywhere. All of my attempt to live right, all of my attempt to pray and seek God, it's all come to naught.
So, I might as well give up. And that's the way it felt until, verse 17, I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I therein. I needed to get my thoughts adjusted when I went to God's house, I went into his sanctuary, then I understood that these who seemed to be doing so well out here were standing in slippery places and that their doom was sealed. It finally says in verse 25, Whom have I in heaven but thee? There is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Verse 28, But it is good for me to draw near to God, I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works. You can rest assured that when you feel like giving up, that's not a message from heaven.
When you say, what's the use, I'm ready to quit. When you say, there's no hope for me, there's no need for me to seek God or to pray, maybe my sin has been too great, maybe I've strayed too far, maybe I've neglected my duties too long, a variety of things can be used, but anything that brings you to the conclusion might as well turn aside is not of God. God sent a message to his wayward people through the prophet Jeremiah, a people who had been given to idolatry, a people who had sinned greatly, a people who had taken the very benefits that God had given them and turned around and offered them to their idols, and what did he say? Return, return, what a message. Come back. You've gone the wrong way, you've done the wrong thing, you've sinned greatly, but return.
Come back. You see the benefit of being in the Word of God, having a light to shine on the path where we're to travel? Keep us from turning in the wrong direction, or keep us from despair in the times of our greatest discouragements. Well, let's think of another example. You hear a message on the sovereignty of God. In fact, I faced this in conversation with somebody not too long ago, so I know this is reality. We're not just speculating about what might happen, talk to someone about the sovereignty of God. God's on the throne, God's ruling, God's reigning, and this person immediately jumped to conclusions.
Well, then if that's the case, there's not a thing I can do, is there? I just sit back and fold my hands and wait to see what happens. No, you missed the point. The fact that God is on the throne is encouraging. It gives us hope, it gives us strength, but if understood properly, it doesn't cause us to become idle. Any conclusion that you have drawn with respect to the sovereignty of God that causes you to make an excuse for your laziness or idleness, you know is wrong. It's not in harmony with the Word of God.
Let's look at an example. Isaiah chapter 38, verse 5, Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears, behold I will add unto thy days fifteen years. Remember Hezekiah was about to die, and he prayed that God would extend his time. And here is the Word. The Word of the Lord came to Isaiah, and Isaiah the prophet conveys it. The Lord who is the God of David, thy father, he's heard your prayer, he's seen your tears, he's going to add fifteen years to your life.
Now do we have any reason to question that? If God says that's what I'm going to do, you believe it, do you not? God says it. It's as good as done.
That's what's going to happen. So somebody would say, well, Hezekiah, that settles that. You don't have to, certainly don't have to take any medicine, and you don't have to be concerned about anything because it's already a settled fact. But notice verse 21, For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover. God says he's going to have fifteen more years, but Isaiah says, here's the way it's going to happen.
You take a plaster of figs, a lump of figs, and put it on the boil, and he shall recover. See many times when people come to rejoice in the message of sovereignty, they become confused about human accountability. And draw the conclusion that if God has promised something, if God says it's going to be, then there's never any reason to pray about that. I brought a whole message on that subject not too long ago and I hope you remember it. But for example, the Lord says, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee that we may boldly say the Lord is our Helper. Do you ever pray, Lord don't forsake me, Lord I need you, don't leave me? I pray that. I feel a need to pray that. Well I've got the promise, and it's comforting to know this is what God says, but it's in order that we pray that. God is pleased for us to pray His promises. That's when we know we're praying for the right thing, when we're praying for what God already has said is in harmony with His will.
What could be said on that subject, but I hope that point is made very clear to you. So we see first that guidance is provided. Specifically verse 106 of our psalm, I have sworn and I will perform it that I will keep thy righteous judgments. Here a commitment is made. It already made a promise, I have sworn, I've made a vow, this is in the past, and it's good to make a commitment. Joshua said, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Once that decision is made, many other issues are settled. Don't have to deal with a lot of little intricate details as they come along because they'll fit under this general canopy, for me and my house we're going to serve the Lord. So whatever contradicts that, we're not going to go that route. We are going to serve God. How wonderful when a person comes to that point in their life that they feel that God has touched them and they are therefore by faith expressing their confidence in Jesus Christ as the Savior and when they go that next step and are identified with Him in the waters of baptism, making that promise, I will perform it, I will keep thy righteous judgments, I'm going to follow thee and serve thee.
It made the promise and yet He's here reconfirming it. I've sworn it, I will perform it, I will keep thy judgments. Verse 112, I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes always, even unto the end. I've inclined my heart to it.
This is my desire. I've made the promise, I want it to be this way. If I find that I'm drifting, if I find that I'm leaning in another direction, I come back because I want my heart to be inclined in this direction toward God, toward His Word. I want to fulfill the promise that I've made. You can see that even in the life of the Apostle Paul. Think well, when such a dramatic change occurred as God spoke to him on the road to Damascus and then after Ananias came and visited him that he was baptized, that surely nothing else will ever have to be said about his commitment. But you come to Philippians chapter 3 and the 13th verse and it says, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Here's a, again, confirming the commitment earlier made. This is something I don't ever feel like that I've reached the pinnacle that there's no further to go.
I need to continue to grow. I'm still pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. But as he makes this commitment, he certainly acknowledges that he needs God's help. Verse 108 says, except I beseech thee the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments. Lord, if I'm going to fulfill this promise, if I'm going to be able to keep Your Word, I need to be taught.
I want Thy Spirit to guide me and teach me. In fact, in verse 88, he specifically prays, Lord, guide me. In verse 37, he says, Lord, turn my eyes away from beholding vanity. In verse 36, again, he says, incline my heart.
In all of these expressions, he's saying, I can't do this by myself. Any person who says, well, I've made my promise to the Lord, I've made my vow and my commitment and watch me as I serve Him, they're ready to stumble and fall. One that thinks he stands is ready to fall. But if it seems overwhelming to you, and you say, well, I did make a promise to the Lord. A long time ago, I was going to follow Him and serve Him. But I've failed so many times, I've stumbled so often, I'd be even hesitant to come back and try to renew the promise because I know my own weakness. Let's remember Paul's expression in Philippians 4, 13, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. What a verse. When you feel you're weary and worn and discouraged and don't know if you can keep going, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
Commitment is made. And then we see affliction endured. Verse 107, I am afflicted very much, quicken me, O Lord, according unto Thy word. Psalm 34, 19 says, many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of them all.
We ought not to be surprised when we find out that God's people suffer. That there are trials and tribulations to be faced. As the hymn writer says, shall I be carried to the skies on fire in beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize and sail through bloody seas. Oh, we have the battle to fight many, many trials, many afflictions. Verse 109 and 110, it says, my soul is continually in my hand, that is, I'm continually in a place of danger. Sometimes because the enemies are attacking, sometimes following the Lord, being obedient to Him will put you in a place of danger. My soul is continually in my hand, yet do I not forget Thy law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I erred not from Thy precepts. Over and over again throughout the Psalms, David is talking about his enemies.
Great numbers of people that opposed him, that hated him, that despised him, that laid traps and snares for him, that sought his downfall. But through all of these afflictions, he said, I have not turned from Thy word. I must rely upon it.
I must depend upon the guidance that can be found there. In Psalm 27 verse 12, he says, deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies, for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty, cruelty. And then the doubts and fears that the child of God encounters along the way.
It can be triggered by a variety of situations and circumstances, and often when one is going through a very dark season, and there's much about it that they're not able to decipher and understand, they begin to feel so much alone, feel so awkward in that situation, wondering if anybody else has ever been quite like they are. In Psalm 102 verse 3, for my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as a hearth. My heart is smitten and withered like grass so that I forget to eat my bread.
By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness, I am like an owl of the desert. I watch in them as a sparrow alone upon the housetop. My enemies reproach me all the day, and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
Like the sparrow alone on the housetop. Variety of afflictions, spiritual afflictions, great disappointments that can cause one to be terribly cast down. But you see, the purpose of reviewing all of this and the reason the psalmist brings all this before us is to remind us that when the way is dark, we have a light, we have a lamp to guide our feet in the right path.
We have something against which we can test our emotions. Emotionally we may say, I'm drained, I'm wiped out, I'm ready to give up, I can't fight the battle anymore, but we come back to the Word of God and we find hope. In Psalm 42, it says in verse 3, my tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, where is thy God?
Sometimes Satan's own vicious attack against us can raise that question in our mind, Lord where are you? If I'm yours, why is it you haven't lifted this burden? Why are these circumstances so difficult and so challenging? And then to add to the pain if somebody else comes along and says, where is your God? If you're really one of His, why are you having it so rough? It's a painful experience.
The afflictions are difficult and heavy to bear. But what does He do? Rather than giving up, He turns to His God. He says, quicken me, enliven me, bring me out of the pit, lift me up from the darkness that has invaded me. Lift me up according to Thy Word.
You see, it's in the Word that the help is found. It's according to Thy Word, it's according to Your promise and this lifting up, this enlivening, this revival of spirit that I need so desperately it's going to be as the Word is applied, as I see in the Word what God says about His faithfulness, about His promises, about His power, about His purpose to bring glory to His own name. And then finally, in verse 108, we see praise rendered, except I beseech Thee the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me Thy judgments.
Now think about that. Jesus is going to praise God. He's asking, Lord, receive the freewill offerings of my mouth.
I want to praise Thy name. He's not asking for God to give Him something. He's not asking for some great unique blessing in His life. He just says, I want to praise Thee, Lord, and I beseech Thee that You will accept my praise. Now if He had such a sense of His own unworthiness that He would even beg God to accept His praise, what kind of a humble spirit ought we to have if we're coming and asking God to do some great thing for us?
Should we not approach Him in the most humble way possible? Except I beseech Thee the freewill offerings of my mouth. His offerings were praise.
Hosea chapter 4 verse 2 says, Take with you words and turn to the Lord, say unto Him, Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously. We will render the calves of our lips. What we're going to offer here, this freewill offering, is not the bringing of an animal as they did at various times. It's not the bringing of a coin.
It's bringing what I'm able to render by speaking. I'm going to speak. I'm going to render praise to God. And this is brought before us in the New Testament then in Hebrews chapter 13 and the 15th verse, By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. How diligent are we in making that kind of a freewill offering?
In the Old Testament there were tithes that were to be paid and they were obligated to do it. The freewill offering was something over and beyond that. Something that a person says, I desire to give.
And they brought it. Now the principle of giving in the New Testament, of course, is that whether we're giving 10% or giving beyond that, the motivation and the attitude ought always to be that we are giving cheerfully unto the Lord, because God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians chapter 9 verse 7, Every man according as he purposed in his heart, so let him give not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver. So whether we're talking about giving praise to God, which should be continually given, praising Him, we often ask Him to intervene and to bless and to help and to do this or that for us, and sometimes forget to praise Him and thank Him when it's done. May we render the fruit of our lips as a freewill offering unto God, praying to Him and thanking Him for His abundant mercies. And then whether it's giving of our time or our money or whatever it is, may that be a freewill gift, a gift that's given willingly because God loves a cheerful giver. So we can see in this wonderful portion of this unique and marvelous psalm, guidance is provided, a commitment is made, afflictions are endured, and praises are rendered. May we pray that God will bless us with a clear understanding of His Word and be able to make the application of it so that we do not deceive ourselves, or allow ourselves to be deceived by others, and not by Satan as he transforms himself into an angel of light, but can say, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Just a reminder that we depend on our listeners for support, and if you would like to make the donation, you can go to our website at BaptistBibleHour.org. Till we greet you next time, this is LeSara Bradley, Jr. bidding you goodbye, and may God bless you. It is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, praising my Savior, praising my Savior all the day long.
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