So much anxiety, so much resentment. Look what's happening to me.
Oh, what's going to happen in the future? Oh, give me a break! At what point do we get serious about trusting God like Scripture teaches us, like David has expressed for us here in Psalm 25? This is the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Don is teaching God's people God's Word. I'm Bill Wright. You know, when it comes to trusting God, wouldn't it be great if there was an instruction manual that showed you exactly how to go about doing so?
Well, Don Green is here to tell you there is. And today, as he brings his series titled Set Apart for God to a powerful close, he'll give you the final critical biblical steps you need to take in order to be able to rest in God's promise to protect, guide, and provide for you in life. Here is Don with the second half of a message called The Uplifted Soul on the Truth Pulpit. As you go into verse 8, you enter into a change of mood in the psalm. And you see another kind of a, we might say a positive aspect of his trust. You see, and fourthly here, you see a prayer of praise, a prayer of praise. The mood changes for the next seven verses. David here, beginning in verse 8 for a time, is going to turn his attention away from himself and simply extol and magnify the character of God.
And this is a statement of trust. This is a statement of believing God to be who he has said that he is and honoring him accordingly. And there is an element of trust in that what God has said about himself is true and you pray and you acknowledge that and you pray accordingly. Look at verses 8 and 9 with me. Good and upright is the Lord. Therefore, he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice and he teaches the humble his way.
There in verses 8 and 9, he's saying that God's character is just. It is righteous. It is morally pure. He always does what is right.
He never does what is wrong. And from that position of excellence, God is able to teach us the proper way to think and the proper way to live. From the position of his goodness and uprightness, he is able with perfection to instruct sinners in the way that they should go. And so as you and I contemplate the character of God, we realize that we have a trustworthy source, a trustworthy Heavenly Father that we can go to and rely upon and to trust him. There are those who would teach you that doubt is a virtue and that to question God is a good thing, as if it were a spirit of free thinking. Doubt is not a virtue, beloved. And if you find yourself wrapped up in doubt here, what you need to do is not feed your doubt and justify them and certainly to proclaim them to other believers. What you need to do is you need to come back to the character of God so that the power of Scripture and the power of the character of God would start to soften your doubt and drive it out rather than cultivate it. Why would you want to live in doubt? That doesn't make any sense.
That's totally irrational. It suggests that God cannot be believed for what he has revealed himself to be. Doubt is a statement of distrust that says, you may have said this, but I'm not so sure.
Well, who appointed any man or woman or child to be the one who sits in judgment of God's revealed character and casts doubt upon it? That's just rooted straight back to the words of the devil in Genesis 3. That's the spirit of where that comes from.
Nothing noble. That's simply echoing with the devil. Has God really said such and such? We welcome those who are teachable in their doubt because we can help you from God's Word. We welcome those who say, I'm doubting and I need help.
We can help that. What we're addressing here at this particular moment is that those who would justify themselves and be self-righteous in their doubt, that is sin to be repented of, not something to be congratulated. Why? Because it's fundamental to the character of God.
That's why. Verse 8, look at it. Good and upright is the Lord.
Therefore, He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice. He's good. He's upright.
He's just. What is there to doubt? What is there to question in that?
What, your circumstances aren't to your liking? And will contradict the revealed Word of God because our circumstances are less than what we had hoped for in times gone by? Would you really ascend to the chair of judge and call God to give an account to you like that? Would you sit in a courtroom of your own heart and say, I think I will sit in judgment of God now?
Beloved, that's a complete reversal of the order of the universe. That's not what we do. In your struggles, in your doubts, in your discouragements, in your failures, you come and you humbly trust God and you affirm things like David did. Say, Lord, you're good.
You're upright. You instruct sinners in the way. And when you humble yourself like that, you will be on the receiving end of God's faithful leading. Now, notice this.
It just kind of builds on what I just said. In the next two verses, verses 10 and 11, David acknowledges that you and I must actively pursue holiness if we want to live in that realm of God's loyal love. Look at verses 10 and 11 where he says, All the paths, verse 10, all the paths of the Lord are loving kindness and truth.
To whom? To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. He says, For your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity because it is great. He says, God shows Himself faithful to those who are keeping, who are walking in His ways.
Well, when you consciously depart from the ways of God into sin and rebellion and disobedience, on what basis do you claim any sense of having a claim on the loving kindness of God when you're actively rebelling against Him? We're not passive in this. We actively seek Him. We actively pursue Him.
We actively trust Him. And it's on a life like that that God displays His loyal love to us. And in the midst of this, trust. And for some of you, I know that what is about to come from verse 11 is going to be a great encouragement to you. Notice, beloved, that David says, he says, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. My sin is deep and profound, O God.
There is something significant for you to see here in your own struggle with sin, beloved. David, let there be no doubt. David is a man riding under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
David riding as the king of Israel. David riding as a man after God's own heart. Riding as a man like that, in the midst of that noble life, he was conscious of sin. He felt sin keenly. And beloved, as you grow spiritually, you are going to feel the weight of sin. As you advance in holiness, as you go closer into the light, as it were, you are going to find that there is more darkness exposed in your life than you recognized before. That is not a sign that you are not a Christian.
That is a sign of the sanctifying influence of the holiness of God on your life. Awareness of sin is not a reason for you to doubt your salvation or to fall into despair. Awareness of sin is a mark of spiritual life. When you feel your sin, that's a mark that you're alive.
It's those who are physically alive that feel the impact of pain in their body. And so let me encourage you with this. Encourage and exhort you at the same time for some of you. Stop collapsing into such heavy introspection when you feel the weight of sin on your life. Of course you're a sinner. Why do you think Christ died? If it was not a heavy, significant matter, then Christ was really wasting His time at the cross. It took the eternal Son of God, shedding His eternally valuable blood, His infinitely valuable blood to redeem you from sin.
Let's not kid ourselves in here. We are all vile, guilty sinners apart from Christ. And when you start to recognize that, then rather than collapsing into this deep, inward looking, look outward to the cross and say, Oh, praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ that He offered Himself for such a sinner as me.
I love Him because of the greatness of the depths of His mercy. You see, beloved, here's what you do. And for some of you, I know this is really important for you to hear. When you're seeing sin, some of you, you're just collapsing into that inward, morbid, woe is me and all of that.
I understand that. But what you need to do, the point here is to grow in trust. And the point of that kind of deep conviction when you have a tender heart like that, what you need to do is let that conviction teach you to turn to God's grace, turn to the cross of Christ with an ever broader and deepening appreciation that He died for a sinner like you. And then, remembering that Psalm 25 is a psalm of trust, and then with that consciousness of the cross, beloved, you trust Him to keep His promise to forgive you. You walk in a confidence that my Savior is sufficient even for my sin. That when He said, it is finished, He meant that your sin was paid in full and you rest in that. God, I'm a sinner in need of pardon for your name's sake. I give myself over henceforth and forevermore to be a vessel for you to display your glory. I'm done with myself. I'm done with my sin. I repent and turn to receive Christ.
Have you done that? Notice the beautiful balance to David's trust as he continues on here. We have seen a prayer of protection, a prayer for guidance, a prayer for pardon, a prayer of praise that included a confession of sin.
David goes on, fifthly, and offers a prayer of fear, a prayer of fear. And here's what I want you to see, beloved, before I read these next few verses to set the stage for it. When you talk about a sufficient Savior, a complete trust in Him to wash away all of your sin and to move forward with joy and confidence, there's always that spiritual temptation toward presumption, toward carelessness as a result. Teachers who would turn the grace of God into licentiousness, and if God has forgiven me, then I'm going to sin all the more. If God likes to forgive sin, well, let me sin it up so that He can get what He likes.
That's deplorable. And the theology that has encouraged people in that, that's come from Dallas Seminary over past decades, is deplorable. God's grace does not make the converted man casual in his approach to God. David offers a prayer of fear. Look at verses 12 through 14. He says, who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant. Notice, beloved, how the word fear brackets these three verses. Verse 12, who is the man who fears the Lord? The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him. Fear is the context of these three verses. But just to remind you that for the believer, the fear of God is the wholehearted life of humble worship you render in response to His saving mercy to you. The fear of God can be summarized as loving obedience.
There is this sense of a responsiveness to the holiness of God that willingly conforms life to His word and that seeks Him, rather than a casual response that so many are conditioned to, well, I prayed a prayer and now I can live life any way that I want. There is nothing for people like that in this psalm. It's the man who fears the Lord that God will instruct. It's the man who fears the Lord whose soul will abide in prosperity, and in the context of the people of Israel will inherit the land.
The secret of the Lord, the riches of communion with God is reserved for those who fear Him. What I want you to see here from these three verses is simply this. In light of everything that we've said, David is not irreverent as he trusts God. Trusting God did not turn him into a comedian, didn't turn him into a spiritual clown and huckster trying to make people laugh.
No, quite to the contrary. David here is honoring God with humble love and worship. While he rejoices in forgiveness, while he confidently asks God for pardon of his sin and moves on trusting that God has granted that, it doesn't turn him into someone who goes right back to where he came from. Rather, there is this ongoing humility and fear and humble response where the totality of his being is responding to the totality of the character of God.
God's mercy did not loosen the reins on him to sin still more. God's mercy was that which drew him closer to God wanting ever more to be ever more compliant, trusting, obedient, righteous in his walk. And so while he's manifesting and displaying for us the character of God in this, he is manifesting a fear that is appropriate. Now, sixthly, David manifests his trust with a prayer for deliverance. A prayer for deliverance. In the closing section of this psalm, David now pours out his heavy heart. But notice that he has done this only after he has first offered a prayer for protection, for guidance, for pardon, a prayer of praise, a prayer of fear. There's a full Lord nature to it. He doesn't just go to God and spew it all out without regard to the character of God, the presence of the one in whose presence he is.
There's a sequence to it. And yet he does pour out his heart. And beloved, what I want you to see is that it should be very encouraging for you and your discouragement to watch a man of God like David pour out his heart and express the weight of his discouragement honestly to God. Look at verse 15. He frames it with another trust.
He introduces this section with another statement of trust. He says, my eyes are continually toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. It's as though he were in a trap and he can't get himself out of it. And he says, but I'm looking to the Lord because he will deliver me from this snare that I find myself in at this current time in life. And so David affirms his trust, but he also declares his trouble.
Look at verses 16 through 18. He says, turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. Bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble and forgive all my sins.
Do you see how descriptive this is? Laying it out honestly, it's in the context of a request for God to act. Turn to me. Be gracious to me. Bring me out. Look upon my affliction. Forgive all my sins. To say, God, you've got to help me.
God, bring me out. That's not a statement of distrust. That's a statement of profound confidence that the God to whom you speak is your God who will care enough to act.
And the urgency of it is expressing a depth of confidence that he will hear and act. Trust is not the absence of inner turmoil. Trust is the presence of conscious dependence on God.
Look at verses 19 through 21. Look upon my enemies, for they are many, and they hate me with violent hatred. Guard my soul and deliver me. Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in you. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. These verses remind us that sometimes the troubles, the distresses are human and external in nature.
Enemies in human form. And, beloved, surely the Church of Jesus Christ needs this element of trust that David expresses and needs it urgently today. You would think from reading social media and commentary by so-called Christians and even Christian leaders that hostile political leaders and foreign enemies were in charge of our future. You would think from the panic and the distress in their voice over politics, for crying out loud, that human men were in charge of the universe.
Shame on us when that's the portrait of Christ that we give to the world. When we're so preoccupied with politics that that's what is predominantly coming out of our mouths. So much anxiety, so much resentment. Look what's happening to me.
Oh, what's going to happen in the future? Oh, give me a break! At what point do we get serious about trusting God like Scripture teaches us, like David has expressed for us here in Psalm 25, where we say, Lord, look on my enemies and help me. Lord, there are many. They hate me. But, Lord, I turn away from my focus on them and ask You to guard me, deliver me, help me, preserve me. Don't let me be ashamed. Don't let life unfold in a way that it shows at the end that my trust in You was misplaced, oh God.
Guard me and help me. And in that manner, display Your glory and Your fidelity to those who put their trust in You. Beloved, of course there is hostility in the world to us. Of course the government is turning on us.
Of course, of course, of course, of course. Haven't we read our Bibles? Scripture explicitly tells us that the world will hate us. 1 John 3.13.
So why do we act like it's breaking news when we start to see particular manifestations of it and act like everything is collapsing around us? Mercy. God, have mercy on us for being so spiritually malnourished when there is a banquet in His Word to teach us to trust Him. Their resistance is just an occasion for you to trust God as you walk your pilgrim pathway.
That's it. This is just a context that God has graciously given to us to display the trust and confidence of which He is preeminently worthy and to manifest by our trusting attitudes that He is great and there is something other than this world worth living for. He expands His vision in verse 22 and offers a prayer of intercession. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all His troubles. Out of all of the physical issues, the spiritual issues, everything that could possibly trouble Your people, O God, I ask You to bring them out of all of it. A comprehensive statement of sympathetic prayer for others.
That's trust. Charles Spurgeon said, Jesus is the Redeemer from trouble as well as sin. He is a complete Redeemer and from every evil He will rescue every saint. Redemption by blood is finished.
O God, send us redemption by power. That's Don Green bringing our series called Set Apart for God to a Close here on The Truth Pulpit. Friend, if you'd like to find out more about this ministry, we invite you to visit thetruthpulpit.com.
You'll find this message there along with all of Don's teaching resources. And Don, you covered a lot on the often confusing subject of trusting God. What final bit of counsel might you offer to our listeners, especially given the way things are going in our world today? As society becomes more secular and hostile to Christianity, and even as governments in some parts of the world become directly hostile to Christians and to the Church and to Christian thinking and Christian speaking, so we need to know an answer to this, my friend. Christian courage starts from having a deep knowledge of God and His attributes.
You have to start there. When we know who God is, when we know who the Lord Jesus Christ is, when we know that He is sovereign and He works all things together for good to those who love Him, and we know that He turns what men mean for evil, He even works that out for good, all of that begets courage in our hearts as we remember the deep love of Christ as He suffered for us at the cross. It gives us a desire to glorify Him, to honor Him, to be faithful to Him, and to be bold to please Him no matter the cost. That is the soil, my friend, in which the roots of Christian courage grow. Don't start by trying to be courageous. Start by knowing God in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks, Don. And friend, that's going to bring our time together to a close for today. Remember to go to TheTruthPulpit.com to get all of Don's teaching and helpful study materials. That's TheTruthPulpit.com I'm Bill Wright inviting you to join us again next time here on The Truth Pulpit as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word.
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