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A Firm Place To Stand – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 4, 2023 1:00 am

A Firm Place To Stand – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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December 4, 2023 1:00 am

We all need a solid foundation to base our lives on. When life is hopeless, how do we benefit from God’s blessing? In this message from Psalm 40, Pastor Lutzer locates two conditions for receiving God’s blessings in a difficult situation. Let’s learn how to wait on God when we’re deep in a pit.

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Life is not a bed of roses.

Thorns are also in that bed, and we need insights on how best to cope. We need a solid foundation to base our lives on. Today we turn again to Psalm 40, where we're finding five blessings God can bestow when we're deep in a pit. Join us as we learn more about waiting on God. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, for some of us, it takes a long time to develop the kind of patience David found when he was in his pit.

Well, you know, Dave, sometimes we have to be patient, because if there's no one that comes along and pulls us out of our pit, we have to stay there. But the good news in this Psalm, of course, is that God comes along and pulls him out of the pit and sets his feet upon the rock. And even as we anticipate the new year, we're reminded of the fact that we should begin every single day giving that day to God. I'm holding in my hands a very beautiful hardback book entitled God's Best for My Life by Lloyd John Ogilvie. Now, this is a daily devotional. And if you were to open it to January 1st, you'd discover that the opening line says the sure sign that we have an authentic relationship with God is that we believe more in the future than the past. And then he goes on to explain what he means, and he indeed gives us hope despite the past, and we can anticipate the future. I mention that because for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember, no matter what pit you might find yourself in today, God is there, and he's able to help you. He's able to pull you out. So he says, number one, he heard me.

Number two, he lifted me. We're still actually here now in verse two. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire. God came and did what no human being could do. The situation needed intervention, and God was there. And it was clear that God was there because you can't get out alone. You know, if you're walking along through a pasture and you get to a certain place and you see a fence post, and on the top of that fence post there's a turtle, you know that some human being was there ahead of you.

There's no explanation for that except for the fact that somebody picked up the turtle and put him there. He can't get up there alone. There are times when we are in the pit when it's very clear that God is there because if God isn't there, it wouldn't happen.

It is, as we like to say, it's a God thing. And so he says, God picked me up. He personally came to me in my need and gave me his aid, and it was very clear that this was of God. He lifted me. He did what no human being can do. And if we had testimonies here today, hundreds of testimonies could be given of people who were cleaned up from their sin, taken out of the pit of their sin, and given cleansing and confidence and a whole new life.

And God keeps doing it over and over again. So he says he lifted me from the pit. Third, he said he established me. We're still in verse two. He set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Solid rock so that even though the tide is still there and the water is swirling around, you find a rock right in the middle of the mire and the muck. Now here we come to an interpretive issue. Is it really true that when we cry up to the Lord and he hears our cry that he always delivers us from the circumstance? I'm going to be commenting on that in just a few moments, but hang on to that for a moment. I think, first of all, that the solid rock is basically confidence in God. That in the midst of the swirl, in the midst of circumstances over which we now have no control, maybe at one time we could control them, but now they're beyond our ability to control. That even there God gives us the deep settled confidence that he will walk with us and that we can stand, even though everything around us seems to be going through the throes of destruction. And it's beyond our control.

So it's confidence, the solid ground. But also, in addition to that, eventually, eventually God may bring us total and complete deliverance, but maybe not as soon as we would like to have it. You'll notice that even in this Psalm 40, we think, well, in the opening of the Psalm, David got rid of all of his problems because now God lifted him. No, I was surprised to read in verse 14, may all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion.

May all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. He's still got evil people after him. You read the rest of the Psalms, there are still the wicked who are plotting their vengeance. I read just this morning in my devotions in one of the Psalms that says that the wicked, they do injustice and they say to themselves, we have the perfect plan. That still might be happening, even though you have confidence in God.

Eventually, there will be total and complete deliverance, but maybe not right away. So he says that God established me. He says in verse three, God inspired me. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Does that mean that he wrote a new song? Well, maybe he did because David was a songwriter, but I'm not so sure that it means that we need a brand new song to give praise to God as much as it means that we sing the old songs entirely differently. There is no one who rejoices as much as someone who has just been snatched from the jaws of a slimy pit and put upon a rock and whose goings have been established as one who has joy and praise to God for the deliverance.

That's why God lets us be in the pit. That's why deliverance sometimes is not so instant because when it comes, we discover suddenly that we can sing again. God opens our mouths to give praise to God.

God opens our mouths that we might be able to speak his blessing and his ministry and give a testimony of his entire and beautiful grace. So he said he inspired me. It's not that he gave me a new song with words. He gave me a new heart so that I could sing differently. I remember one woman saying that she was in church and she was planning to commit suicide.

The pills were already in her purse, but she thought she'd show up at church one last time just to say goodbye to God. And everyone was singing, oh say but I'm glad, I'm glad. You remember that song? We haven't sung that in years, but you know there is a song.

Those of you who are older will remember it. Oh say but I'm glad, I'm glad. She felt like screaming.

Oh say but I'm mad, I'm mad. You can't sing the songs of Zion. You can't sing, oh say but I'm glad, I'm glad when you're planning to commit suicide.

Thankfully she went into the prayer room and stayed there until God met the deep needs of her heart and I wrote to her years later and she said thoughts of suicide have never returned though my physical problems have remained. God gives a new song to those who cry unto him and who wait for him as we shall see. Number five, okay, he heard me, he lifted me, he established me, he inspired me, he used me in verse five. It says, did I say verse five?

I of course meant the last part of verse three. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. You'll notice that the power of personal testimony is overwhelming. You see, when we have personal testimonies here at the church, what's being communicated is this, if God can get this person through this difficulty, if the Lord can give someone grace even though they've discovered that their mate is cheating on them and somehow God enables them to walk through that mire and that muck and gives them a place to stand and confidence, then it says to other people in the congregation, I can handle my relationship because if God is faithful there, I know that he can be faithful elsewhere and so you see the testimony inspires faith because we look at the lives of others and we see what God has done through them and therefore we say to ourselves, as a result of God sustaining grace to someone who was that low in the muck and the mire, surely God's going to be with me. I want you to know today that you do not just suffer for yourself, you suffer for everyone who's watching you and who knows you because the way you suffer is a test of your faith and therefore God allows us to suffer that we might be a testimony and that others will see it in fear and say he endured, therefore I can endure. Stewart Hamblin converted under the Billy Graham ministry in Los Angeles.

I guess Billy Graham would say Los Angeles. In 1949, you remember he wrote that song, it is no secret what God can do, what he's done for others he'll do for you, with arms wide open he will pardon you. It is no secret what God can do and if God can do it for Stewart Hamblin who is in the muck and the mire and if God can deliver people who've gone through excruciating circumstances that are too much for us to even think about, surely we can face life. I remember reading Corey 10 Boom's book about her life in the Nazi prison camp, you remember that? And I've forgotten a lot of the details but there is one line that I remember to today and will remember it until the day I die.

After living through all that horror, after seeing her relatives killed and abused and living there in the worst possible conditions being victimized, she wrote in her book, there is no pit that is so deep but that God is deeper still because of her many saw God and feared and trusted in the Lord. Now of course the question is here are five wonderful blessings, how do we get in on them? That's what you're asking, I know what you're thinking. I know that's what I'm thinking is how do we benefit from these blessings? How do they become ours?

You'll notice two things, first of all, here are the conditions now. Verse 1, I waited patiently for the Lord. You see there are seasons in God's deliverance. I waited patiently for the Lord. Patience is so foreign to our nature that it is a gift of God. Did you know that patience is a gift of God?

It says in Ephesians that we are strengthened by patience, that through the Holy Spirit of God we are strengthened by patience. I always think of myself as a very patient person, the thing that confuses me is why the people around me don't think so too. It's confusing to me because I think I'm very patient.

I may get a little exasperated if I miss one turn in a revolving door but I'm very patient and if I'm standing at an elevator where the button is already pushed to go up because it's already lit I may push it again just to make sure that it's pushed but I'm patient. I learned that the word patience is derived from the Latin which means suffering, suffering and while we are waiting the work that God does in our hearts is much greater than the end product of the work. I waited patiently for the Lord. It may not happen immediately but we wait and we yield and we commit and so we wait. We wait for God's timing.

That's the first condition and you and I who are impatient find it difficult to wait but there's a second condition and he heard my cry. Bill Gothard with whom I speak on the telephone every once in a while has written a little book in which he claims that crying out to God is more effective than just the normal prayers that is crying out to God out loud just crying out. Well I have to ask the question is it because is it because God is deaf and the louder we cry the more possibility of hearing us.

No. In fact that's the difference between the pagan gods and the true God. The pagan gods you have to cry out.

You remember when Elijah was on Mount Carmel and the pagans were crying out to their gods and he was taunting them and having all kinds of fun with them and he said well you know cry louder because you know maybe your God has gone on a journey. Maybe he's having something to eat. Maybe he's gone to the bathroom.

Give him time. Cry louder. It's not because God doesn't hear us unless we cry out. He hears the whispers. He hears the thoughts of our heart but this point is to be made. It's a good point that when we cry out it illustrates our helplessness our utter helplessness before God because we're desperate and we say oh God help.

It illustrates and shows our humility because we're desperate. We know that we have no resources. I can't get out of this pit. There's no way I've tried to crawl out. I tried a hundred times and every time I try to crawl out of the pit I go down deeper into the mire.

I can't get out. God deliver me or I won't be delivered. So there's humility and I think there's also faith.

The very fact that you're shouting out loud means that you believe that God can be believed. Now I have a question for you. Who is this psalm about anyway? Oh you say well it was about David.

Yeah that's true. Who else is this psalm about? Oh you say well this psalm is about me. This is my story. Yes it's your story but who else?

Whose story is this? You know what the answer to that question is? This is the story of Jesus Christ.

You say well how do you know that? I want you to look in the text and it says for example in verse 6, sacrifice an offering you did not desire but my ears you have pierced, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Here I am I've come to do thy will oh God and so forth. This is quoted in the New Testament those verses as belonging to Jesus.

And you know what I believe? I believe that the first four or five verses are Jesus's experience as well. Now take your Bibles thank you for bringing them to church today and if you don't have one the person next to you most assuredly does and can show you this in the text. In Hebrews chapter 5 this is what it says. That Jesus Hebrews chapter 5 I'll even give you time to find it so that you know that your pastor doesn't make this stuff up okay. Hebrews chapter 5 I'm looking at verse 7. It says during the days of Jesus life on earth he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Wow hang on everybody everybody at this point. The Greek text indicates that when Jesus was heard his petition was heard by God and granted. Here he is in Gethsemane he's crying up with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death. He wasn't saved from death he went to the cross and died for you and for me.

What's going on here? Eventually he was saved from death because he was raised from the dead forever to be saved from death. My point is simply this there's some muck and mire that God delivers us from instantly and I'll tell about that in a moment. There's sometimes we are going through that pit to that time of difficulty and and our deliverance may be our confidence in God and but yet we do not see immediately the deliverance but we keep waiting and we keep trusting and we keep trying and eventually we see it. Well does that mean you say pastor Lutzer that everyone who is in the muck and mire has to be crucified first?

No thankfully not. In fact the Bible gives us this text call on to me in the day of trouble and I will answer the Psalm 50 verse 15. Call on to me in the day of trouble. There are times when we just cry up to God and and the answer is right there. God just comes and delivers us.

There are other times when we're put on a rock but the water around us still swirls and the muck and the mire is still there but but we're standing thank God. We've got a firm place to stand but it's not all resolved yet but God says in the end it will be. Deliverance is sure if not in this life most assuredly in the life to come. Now I want you to know that there is one prayer that you can pray and some of you need to pray this in which you'll receive an instant answer not even with any waiting.

Isn't that wonderful? Because there are some times when God has promised to answer immediately whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. You can call on the name of the Lord and say Jesus save me from my sins. Be my savior. The Bible says you'll be saved. You don't even have to wait for an answer.

It's guaranteed to come. What is it that I'm telling you today? I'm asking you to do two things.

Number one to wait on God in reverent submission like Jesus did. That's what the Bible says that he did to wait on God. I'm asking you to begin to call out. Now we're not going to do it in church today though we may do it sometime. We do it sometimes at prayer meeting to just simply call out to God and let him know what your requests are or we call out to God together on a certain issue because we show our desperation our humility and our faith and we we say God intervene God help me and all of that is honored by the Lord because of our reverent submission to him and to his will and the promise is deliverance will come maybe not now but eventually it will be there. I cried to the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry and he lifted me from the slimy pit. If it's the pit of sin that you need to be delivered from that is also something that can happen very soon as you cry to the Lord our God. Join me as we pray.

Father today I'm reminded of the song that was based on this song. I was sinking deep in sin far from the peaceful shore very deeply stained within sinking to rise no more but the master of the sea heard my despairing cry and from the waters lifted me now safe am I. Father some people have to be delivered from the pit of sin some from the pit of fear some from the pit of despair some from the pit of hopelessness whatever it is Father we cry to you today and say God help us. Some people have to be delivered from themselves we pray that they might cry to you for salvation and cleansing in Jesus name Amen. Well this is Pastor Lutzer you know as I read the scriptures I realize that God does honor desperation so if you're at the end of your rope today that's a great opportunity to cry up to God even as I mentioned in the message seek his face wait for the Lord that means that you are available to God for whatever he brings into your life for whatever direction he gives you because your trust is in him let him know that if you're in a place where you can cry out out loud to God today do it even in your desperation. I believe so deeply that every day we should begin the day with God and one of the ways to do that is to have a devotional that you read every single morning.

I'm holding in my hands a very beautiful book it's entitled God's Best for My Life by Lloyd John Ogilvy and in this book what he does is he directs our thoughts and our hearts towards the scripture he gives us hope and in the process we begin the day in dependence on God. Now for a gift of any amount this book can be yours and I want to thank the many of you who support this ministry even as we think of the month of December Christmas of course we are so grateful for your prayers for your support and for your encouragement. Here's what you do go to that's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now in case I went through that too quickly I'm going to be giving you that contact info again.

Go to or call us 1-888-218-9337. Thank you so much for joining us today. God bless you have a good day all day. You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. Waiting patiently for the Lord may be counterintuitive but it is a key requirement for us to find that firm place to stand we so desperately need. Next time on Running to Win we'll begin to explore Psalm 42 as we too learn to desire God. Plan to join us this is Dave McAllister Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-04 02:15:11 / 2023-12-04 02:24:01 / 9

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