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Radioactive - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2021 2:00 am

Radioactive - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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December 17, 2021 2:00 am

When suffering strikes in your life, how do you deal with the fallout? In the message "Radioactive," Skip addresses the reality of spiritual depression and shares some hopeful truth for handling the difficult aspects of life.

This teaching is from the series Playlist.

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Website: https://connectwithskip.com

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Whenever our purpose is challenged or our usefulness is challenged, we become susceptible to spiritual depression.

This shows up when a person feels trapped in a marriage, when a person feels trapped in a job, when a person is forced into retirement because of a medical condition. They start asking questions, what use am I? What is my purpose?

Millions of Americans suffer from depression and anxiety each day, and according to research, that number is only growing. Connect with Skip Heitzig today as he talks about the spiritual reality of depression, giving you hopeful truth to help you face life's difficulties and find your joy in God's light. But before we begin, here's Skip to invite you to study the words of Jesus in the very places where he spoke them. Lenya and I are taking a group to Israel in 2022, and we want to invite you to join us. We'll visit places like Nazareth, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Garden Tomb, and that's just a fly-by look at the itinerary. Find out more about the trip at inspirationcruises.com slash c-a-b-q. Thank you, Skip.

Now, we want to let you know about a resource that will help you hear God's voice more clearly by walking through his word. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the re-evaluation of priorities, life choices, and the path forward. This illuminates the question, what do I want out of life? Here's Skip Heitzig with some thoughts on priorities.

Don't we all want the life with a happy ending? A life marked by growth, a life marked by productivity and refreshment, and God's touch of blessing and prosperity and maturity upon it. Here's our special offer for this month for those who support this media outreach. The Daily God Book by Skip Heitzig, plus playlist, eight CD messages on significant Psalms. Start 2022 with Skip's Daily God Book, and they're both our way of thanking you when you give $35 or more today to help more people connect with God's word. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to connectwithskip.com. Now, here's another playlist sample from Skip. When you pursue him, when you pursue holiness, happiness tags along. Call 800-922-1888 to give or visit connectwithskip.com. Okay, we'll be in Psalms 42 and 43 for today's study.

So let's join Skip Heitzig. We're about to read the lyrics essentially of an ancient worship song. That's what the Psalms of David and the other Psalms in this book were used as.

They were used as part of the corporate public worship of ancient Israel. But what is amazing to me is the theme that is in a worship song. The theme of these two Psalms is essentially depression. And I just wonder what the choir thought when they were given the lyrics to this hymn to sing. I'm entitling this message radioactive because it's reminiscent of a modern song that you heard by Imagine Dragons Radioactive.

And when the lead singer Dan Reynolds, and he was also the co-author of the song, when he was interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine and they asked him about the meaning of the song, he said essentially it's about his own personal struggle with anxiety and depression. And so are these Psalms that we are dealing with here. I'll give you a little bit more background before or after we read them, but turn to Psalm 42 and 43. And if you don't mind, this morning I want to follow a more traditional practice and I'm going to have you stand as I read these two Psalms.

Some churches will do this to show a respect for the Word of God and stating their belief that they trust in the authority of Scripture. As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, where is your God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me, for I used to go with the multitude. I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept the pilgrim feast. Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me. Therefore, I will remember you from the land of the Jordan and from the heights of Hermon, from the hill meets our deep calls unto deep at the noise of your waterfalls.

All your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command my kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I will say to my rock, why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of my enemy? As with the breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, where is your God? Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, I shall yet praise him for the help of my countenance and my God. Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation. O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man, for you are the God of my strength. Why do you cast me off?

Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out your light and your truth. Let them lead me. Let them bring me to your holy hill and to your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and on the harp I will praise you, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him, the help of my countenance and my God. Let's pray before we have a seat. Father, we stand in your presence this morning as a token that we not only respect the scripture, but that we stand our very lives. We stake our very souls upon what you have revealed to us. We stand in your presence so thankful for honest expressions like the ones that we find in Psalm 42 and 43. And we pray, Lord, that your Holy Spirit would help us to not only understand the meaning, but to apply the truth. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Please have a seat. The theme of these two Psalms is essentially what I'm calling spiritual depression. Now, I did not come up with that phrase. It was a phrase coined by another pastor, Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones was a medical doctor who became a pastor after G. Campbell Morgan of the great Westminster Chapel in London, England. And he wrote one of his greatest books ever entitled Spiritual Depression. Originally, Psalm 42 and 43, we believe, were the same unit, the same song, the same song, or that you have Psalm 42 and then as an appendix to it, you have Psalm 43.

And here's why. The same language is used in both Psalms, the same chorus, if you will. We have in the first Psalm a verse followed by a chorus, a second verse followed by the same chorus, and then in the next Psalm, the third verse followed by the same chorus. So verse one, the psalmist sings about dryness in verse one. In the second verse, he sings about drowning. That's the metaphor he uses.

And in the third verse, he sings about being dejected. If you will notice at the beginning of Psalm 42, the part we did not read says, to the chief musician, a contemplation of the sons of Korah. Now let me jog your memory back to Numbers 16 when there was a guy named Korah and he and 250 of his buddies rebelled against Moses' authority and God simply had the ground open up and swallowed them all till they died.

That was his answer to that. Well, his son survived according to Numbers chapter 26 and we have the descendants of those sons that are represented here. Essentially, it was their job to conduct the public worship in Israel and there are 11 Psalms that are ascribed to the sons of Korah. Now what is the occasion of these Psalms?

What's the background? We don't know for sure, but we could venture a guess. Some scholars believe that when David fled Jerusalem because of the rebellion of his son Absalom. Again, I'm jogging your memory to 2 Samuel chapter 15. When David left, that he brought with him one of the sons of Korah, this Levite who wrote these Psalms. And here they are out away from Jerusalem, longing to get back. And this Levite, one of the sons of Korah, longs to return and writes these Psalms.

Well, we don't know for sure, but essentially the theme of these Psalms is a person struggling and struggling with God to make sense of the experience that he's had in his life. It is spiritual depression. It's what the ancients used to call the dark night of the soul.

Whatever you want to call it. Having a bad day, being down, having the blues, being depressed. Some of you know what it's like to have your zest for life vanish. To have simple tasks feel like impossible demands. To have spiritual energy gone. To have words like hope and joy become nothing more than just words without real meaning. In a word, you are radioactive.

That's how you feel. You have been exposed to catastrophic events that make you feel this way. So I want to look at in these two Psalms, the reasons for it and the remedies for spiritual depression, the reasons and the remedies. But I want to begin by just laying a little bit of groundwork.

I want to first talk about the reality of it. You've all heard of the four spiritual laws, I'm sure, in your Christian life. Well, I want to give you the three spiritual flaws. Not the four spiritual laws. These are three spiritual flaws when it comes to this issue of depression that I just want to overturn.

Flaw number one. It's all in your head. It's not really real. You just think it's real. It's all in your imagination.

That's flaw number one. So let me be quick to answer that by quoting what the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta says about it. According to their findings, they write that nine percent of American adults are struggling with feelings of hopelessness and despondency and or guilt that generate a diagnosis of depression. Nine percent.

Nine percent. Moreover, they state, at any given time, three percent of adults have major depression. A long-lasting, severe form of depression.

Did you know the Bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made? And that implies, besides the obvious, it implies the fact that we are very complex beings and we're held together in a very delicate balance, which means a lot can go wrong. Certain factors like genetics or family history, personality factors, stress, and biochemical disturbances all can add to those feelings. For instance, if there is an imbalance in your brain chemistry, the neurotransmitters, those chemical messengers that work inside your brain, if something is askew, you can feel a certain way because of it. So if your serotonin level is low, that'll disrupt sleep patterns. It will increase anxiety. If your norepinephrine levels are low, it'll produce fatigue and a depressive mood can follow.

If there's the increased level of the hormone cortisol, it'll intensify your reaction to fear and distress. All that to say your brain is a real organ. And so to deny the possibility of clinical depression is flat out wrong and certainly unhelpful. So that's flaw number one. It's all in your head. You're just imagining it.

Flaw number two. Well, Christians should never be depressed. If you believe that, by the way, never read the book of Psalms. You'll just be disappointed because the guys who write this are all over the emotional map.

They're on a high and then they're crashing in the same Psalm sometimes. Some people will paint a false picture about coming to Christ, however. They will say, just come to Jesus and life's problems will be automatically solved. You'll always be healthy. You'll always be wealthy. You'll always be happy.

And they feel the necessity to plaster a fake smile. How you doing, brother? Good.

I'll actually go to sleep just like this. That certainly is not helpful. Yes, we have resources the world does not have. Certainly we have the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. But don't worry about it.

Don't worry about it. But being phony or portraying a certain emotion as something that happens all the time is wrong. In fact, let me also say that in some cases, coming to Christ actually makes the road rougher. Think of Christians in countries where persecution is huge because a person gives their life to Christ.

Think of the audience that Peter wrote to when we studied rock solid. They received Christ and life got instantly more difficult for them, adding stress and pressure. So those two flaws, it's all in your head. Number two, Christians should never be depressed.

Flaw number three, if you are depressed, it means you are unspiritual or at least immature. If you believe that, you will have a hard time with most all of the Bible and most of the heroes in the Bible. Some of the great spiritual men and women of faith in the Bible, like David, who said, my soul is in anguish.

Oh Lord, how long? In Psalm six, David said, I make my bed swim with tears. Elijah, the prophet, spiritual guy. When he ran from Queen Jezebel out in the desert, he said, it is enough. Oh Lord, take my life.

That's suicidal. Job, last time I checked, God said he was the most righteous person living on earth at the time. Job opened his mouth and curse the day of his birth.

You got to feel pretty low to do that. Then there was Paul, the apostle in the new Testament, who said he was burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that he despaired even of life. All of them great spiritual people. Over the years, you've heard me quote, probably almost every week, one of my favorite quotable pastors, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Ever since I was a young believer, I just loved how he said words. It's like, wow, people don't talk like that.

He's so quotable. But then I discovered that Charles Haddon Spurgeon also suffered severe bouts of depression. And he confessed as much to his own congregation, saying that I have been in depths of which I hope none of you ever go. And he also said to them, there are dungeons beneath the castles of despair. And yet, for some reason, some of us Christians feel that we need to add stigma to those people who are feeling low and down and depressed. And if they're not doing this, we say, hey, come on, how come you're not doing this? So those are flaws.

This stuff is real. Now I'd like to have you look with me at these two Psalms and consider some reasons for it. Now let me be quick to say that I am not a clinician and I'm going to confine my thoughts to the Psalm because I'm an expositor and also to this theme of spiritual depression. But there are several reasons, though there are many more.

I'm just going to give you what I see in the Psalm. Reasons for spiritual depression. Reason number one, expectations. Expectations, unfulfilled expectations.

When you expect something to happen that doesn't happen, that's an unfulfilled expectation. Verse one, as the deer pants for the water brook, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God? My tears had been my food day and night while they continually say to me, where is your God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me.

For I used to go with the multitude. I went with them to the house of God, the voice of joy and praise, with the multitude that kept the pilgrim feast. Whoever it was that wrote this Psalm, this person feels cut off from spiritual life, isolated in this incident. Whether it was the Levite that was off with David when they fled Jerusalem or it was somebody that wrote it years later, notice the expressions. Like a deer, thirsty, panting for water, wanting to find refreshment, but finding no relief whatsoever. The Bible says in Proverbs 13 that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Once again, think who is writing this Psalm.

The sons of Korah, their whole life, their whole purpose is involved in the public worship system of Israel. Whenever our purpose is challenged or our usefulness is challenged, we become susceptible to spiritual depression. This shows up when a person feels trapped in a marriage, when a person feels trapped in a job, when a person is forced into retirement because of a medical condition, they start asking questions. What use am I?

What is my purpose? We all have expectations and some of them are realistic. When we do this, we expect certain things to happen, but some of our expectations in life are just flat unrealistic.

The more unrealistic your expectations are, the more severe the depression will be. I found an interesting article I wanted to share with you. It caught my attention. It was a Vanderbilt University study.

Listen to how it opens. Pentecostals are three times more likely than any other Christian group to experience major depression. That caught my attention.

I just thought, that's an odd thing to say. How do you study that? Well, Vanderbilt University studied 2,850 North Carolinians over a six-month period and their findings were that the group experienced serious depression at a rate of 1.7 percent, whereas the rate among Pentecostals was 5.4 percent. The question becomes, why is that? And they couldn't be definitive, but they said it's, they believe that it's because, in part, people who were already depressed were attracted to Pentecostalism's promise of physical and spiritual healing.

If you come to Jesus, all your problems will be solved and you'll be wealthy and you'll be healthy. And when you live with those expectations and they don't happen, then you come crashing down. So, number one, expectation is one of the reasons.

Here's the second reason. Criticism. Criticism.

Criticism. Verse three, he's saying, they say, where is your God? Verse 10, as with the breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me while they say to me all day long, where is your God? Psalm 43, verse two, for you are the God of my strength.

Why do you cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of my enemy? Whoever this author is, he's surrounded by critics, surrounded by those who are saying these things to him, taunting him. Whenever you suffer for doing good, for doing right, working for God, doing the right thing, but you're mocked because of it, produces anxiety. In Proverbs 12, 25 tells us, anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression. Think of the Christian student in a secular university who all day long, been there, done that, who all day long here, where is your God? Or the Christian worker amongst unbelievers who say, where is your God? Or a believing person with a family filled with unbelievers who are saying, where is your God? That kind of anxiety can build up as the scripture says, cause depression.

That's Skip Heintzig with a message from the series playlist. Right now, we want to let you know about a unique opportunity you have to pursue biblical studies in a way that works with your schedule. Speculation about the end times is at an all-time high, and Christianity is the only faith that devotes nearly one-third of scripture to future events. Learn about the future from the authority of the Bible when you take a study of the end times at Calvary College. With evening classes on campus or online, you can get an education in biblical studies that will impact your spiritual life for the rest of your life.

The spring term starts January 10th, so apply today at CalvaryChurchCollege.com. Do you ever feel like God isn't speaking to you? It might seem like he's distant, but the truth is he's always speaking to you through his word. That's why we share these powerful Bible teachings from Pastor Skip on air and online so you and others can hear God speak his truth and love into your life every day. You can help even more people experience that same blessing through your gift today. Just visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give now. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888. 800-922-1888. Thank you. Be sure to come back next week as Skip Heitzigs begins a special holiday series called A Red Christmas, sharing why Jesus came to earth at just the right time and how that truth will strengthen your faith. . Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 10:46:53 / 2023-07-08 10:55:53 / 9

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