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Confident in Crisis #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 8, 2022 8:00 am

Confident in Crisis #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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June 8, 2022 8:00 am

Our nation and the world are faced with one crisis after the next, from wars and depressions, to crime in our inner cities. But in the midst of all that, should Christians fret- Not if you pay attention to Biblical passages like Psalm 28. Pastor Don Green will take us there on this edition of The Trruth Pulpit.--TheTruthPulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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You know, you can go along and have a sense of strength and confidence and then a storm hits and, you know, you're grabbing for the rope. At the same time, you can find yourself in the storm and by God's grace, without the storm going away, find yourself settled and restful and peaceful and confident in the end. Our nation and the world are faced with one crisis after the next, from wars and depressions to crime in our inner cities. But in the midst of all that, should Christians fret?

Well, not if you pay attention to biblical passages like Psalm 28. Pastor Don Green will take us there on this edition of the Truth Pulpit. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. Today's message is titled Confident in Crisis. And Don, this is a particularly relevant message for the times, isn't it?

Well, that's exactly right, Bill. You know, my friend, as you read the Psalms, you're often reading the words of David. And the words of David that he wrote when he was in various times of crisis or discouragement or confessing sin.

The Psalms are a wonderful place for us to come and find voice, a God-inspired voice for our own struggles and on the own difficulties of our souls. Scripture is so practical and so relevant. You'll see that clearly as we open God's Word again today on the Truth Pulpit.

Thanks, Don. And friend, let's join our teacher now as he continues teaching God's people God's Word in the Truth Pulpit. It is enough for you, beloved. It is sufficient for you that if you know the Lord Jesus Christ, it is sufficient for you to know that the Lord has heard your prayer in the midst of your crisis and you can rest in that alone. Because God is sufficient in the crisis. He does not lightly treat the appeals of His children that ask for His care. And when we know that, we can rest in that regardless of what's happening around us. You trust in God alone as you go through life. Well, first of all, let's take a look at David in crisis.

That's our first point. David in crisis. As this Psalm begins, David is in an urgent situation that needs God's immediate help.

And he is afraid that he's facing a common fate with the wicked, which is just unthinkable to him. And notice how it opens up. It opens up with a very clear and expressive statement of solitary trust in Yahweh. He says, to you, O Lord, I call. It opens up with these words, to you I call. Not to anyone else.

I look not to a change in my circumstances. My appeal is to you, O Lord, and I call upon you. Look at the rest of verse one with me there. He says, my rock, do not be deaf to me.

For if you are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit. It's an expressive way of acknowledging his trust in the Lord. And it would appear, in a way that perhaps you can relate to, it would appear that David has been praying for a period of time as this Psalm enters in. If he's appealing for God not to be deaf, not to be silent, it gives you the sense that he's been asking and his circumstances haven't changed. He hasn't seen God intervene yet, and so he's appealing once again for the Lord not to be deaf, not to be silent. Now he's speaking here, and he's using human words to describe the nature of God. It's not that God is literally deaf or that he's literally silent or mute before David. Rather, he's saying, God, don't be inactive in response to my prayers, is the idea. He's asking God to hear him, by which he means, God, answer me.

God, do something in this situation because it is becoming increasingly urgent. And as he calls on God as his rock, he is saying that, God, you are my protection. You are my strength.

You are the one that I run to for stability and security in the midst of the uncertainty of life. I am appealing to your character as I pray. There should be a sense in which we're mindful of the basis upon which we are calling God to act, and not simply to dump out our requests before him, but to be thoughtful, to consider what it is that we're saying on what is the basis upon which you appeal for God to intervene on your behalf. David says, God, I'm appealing to you because you're my rock, you're my defense, you're the one that I trust in, you're my protection. And so I'm asking you to do, to fulfill that office that you hold in my life, to carry out that role which you have taken in my life as my protection.

Protect me then, is the appeal. It's a poetic way of asking God to intervene in his time of need. And he says here at the end of verse 1, he says, if you're silent, if you don't act, I'll become like those who go down to the pit. The pit here being a synonym for death, for sheol.

It's a representation, it's a word to refer to the realm of the dead. And David says, God, if you don't help me, that's what lies ahead for me. Life and death are at stake here.

It's urgent and it's important. And it shows that David is afraid that he may even die if God doesn't answer in response to him. And so what does he say? He goes on and prays in verses 2 and 3. Having kind of framed the crisis and the basis upon which he appeals to God here, he goes on and he repeats himself. He says the same thing with different expressions, verses 2 and 3. He says, hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your holy sanctuary. Do not drag me away with the wicked and with those who work iniquity, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. Do you see the repetition? Do you see the recurring theme of what he's saying? He's saying, God, verse 1, don't be deaf.

God, don't be silent. Verse 2, hear my voice when I cry to you. Verse 3, don't drag me away with the wicked. There's a repetition and an urgency that is shown that is expressing the urgent nature of his request. And it gives us a sense that when our prayers are earnest and thoughtful and sincere, that repetition is a fine way to pray.

Repetition is a fine way to express the urgency of the situation. And that we would be like the widow who went to the judge in the gospels and came to him repeatedly saying, help me, act on my behalf, protect me from my opponent. Turn over to Luke 18.

I'd like you to see this. It's just kind of an illustration from the lips of our Lord about what David is doing here as he prays. And we see an encouragement.

Here's the thing, beloved. We see an encouragement to persevering, prevailing prayer. That the believing disciple does not stop after one request when he doesn't get his answer.

He comes again and again until God answers his prayer. Luke 18 verse 1. Jesus was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray, and notice this, not to lose heart. Saying, in a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city. And she kept coming to him saying, give me legal protection from my opponent. For a while he was unwilling, but afterward he said to himself, even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection.

Otherwise, by continually coming, she will wear me out. And the Lord said, hear what the unrighteous judge said. He said, her repetition moved him to act on her behalf, even though he was unrighteous and did not really care about her situation. Jesus here is reasoning from the lesser to the greater. If an unrighteous human judge would respond to the repeated requests of someone he doesn't even care about, what must it be like for God to respond to his children in love who continually come to him and ask for his protection? Look at verse 7. He says, now will not God bring about justice for his elect who cry to him day and night, and will he delay long over them? I tell you that he will bring about justice for them quickly.

However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? So we have this encouragement to persevering prevailing prayer. Those of you that have been praying for years and years for your loved ones to come to Christ and it just seems like they get more and more hard, don't give up. Don't stop praying. Don't say, well, there's nothing more to be done here and give up as if the omnipotent mercy of God has somehow been exhausted or that somehow your loved one's heart is just too hard for God to crack this one in.

Why would that be true? He cracked your heart, didn't he? He broke through your stubborn will, didn't he? Well, then he hasn't stopped and as long as you have breath, you keep praying, you keep persevering, you keep asking God to act and to respond to your prayers. Let's go back to Psalm 28 now. Psalm 28 verses 2 and 3, with this repetition, hear the voice, don't drag me away, don't be deaf, the echo, God, help me, help me, help me, answer, answer, answer.

The echo is showing the emphasis and urgency that's on his heart. He desperately needs and desires God's intervention enough that he keeps coming and asking. Jesus' question is well considered. If God is like this, we can expect him to respond to our repeated prayers. The question is, do we have the faith, do we have the perseverance in order to pray in that way and to persevere continuing to ask even when there seems to be no evidence of an answer at hand? See, the challenge in those times when God appears silent, the challenge is not for God to do something, it's for us to lay hold of his character and exercise faith even when we're walking by faith and not by the sight of anything visible that seems to be responding to our prayers. Look at verse 2, at the end of verse 2 with me, he says, hear the voice when I lift up my hands toward your holy sanctuary.

Here to lift up his hands, it's an expression of dependence. David is orienting his mind toward the sanctuary, that place at the time of his writing where the ark of the covenant was kept, where God's presence was represented. David says, I lift up my hands toward your presence and to that place which represents it.

How does that apply to us today? There is no sanctuary in the same way, there's no ark of the covenant, there's no physical manifestation of God like that. Well, we've got something better that we appeal to. We appeal to something even better as the grounds upon which we ask God to respond to us. We're mindful of another manifestation, a manifestation subsequent to Psalm 28 when we pray. We're mindful of the way that God manifested himself at the cross of Calvary. When our Lord Jesus Christ permanently, eternally displayed the love and care of God for his children, when he bore our sins in his body on the cross, when he interceded as a substitute sacrifice for us and forever settled the question, does God care about us? Is God concerned about us? Do we have a grounds of appeal to believe that God will hear our prayers?

Of course we do. The cross settled that for all time. And so we should appeal to the cross when we pray and say, Lord, you've already done the greater thing when you interceded for me at Calvary. Lord, I'm certain and confident of your love when I remember the cross. And therefore, Lord, I'm confident now when I pray that you hear me with love, with concern, and with compassion. And if you interceded for me while I was yet a sinner, separated from you, how much more must you be willing to hear my prayer now that I'm reconciled to you and I appeal to you not in my own righteousness, but on the shed blood of my Lord Jesus Christ, the one that you appointed to be my mediator with you. You see, when we think through the nature of God rightly, rather than just looking through things from our circumstances, and I don't see how this circumstance is going to work out, and you turn to desperation and you pray to God as if it were a last resort, and God, I don't know if you can do anything, but help me if you can.

Well, that's really not worthy of Him, is it? No, we should start with the cross, start with a certainty of God's love and care for us, affirm our belief in His good intentions toward His children, and say, Lord, I humbly ask from that position of confidence and strength, based on the way that you revealed yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ, that you will hear me favorably. And while you may respond in a way that's different than what I anticipate or what I presently want, Lord, I'm content to place myself in your loving hands and say, not my will, but thine be done. And in that, Lord, if you hear my prayer and you do your will, I know that I'm going to be completely covered, and therefore I can be at peace.

That's what He's worthy of. And, beloved, as we walk through these challenging times in our culture and society around us, you and I should be reaffirming that to one another. We need to live this way in our own private lives, because when we gather together, we'll manifest that to each other. And when I'm a little bit weak and down, I'll draw strength from your confidence in the Lord, and vice versa. And so we just need to be mindful of the whole community of God as we walk through these things, and let our trust in Christ shape the whole way that we represent ourselves to the world. The always quotable Charles Spurgeon said about this particular passage of Scripture, he said, We stretch out empty hands, for we are beggars. We lift them up, for we seek heavenly supplies. We lift them toward the mercy seat of Jesus, for there our expectation dwells. You know why you should be unassailably confident about what lies ahead? It's because God has revealed Himself in Christ, and Christ has borne your sins on the cross, and risen from the dead, and ascended on high. We trust in a Savior who is risen, who is omnipotent, who cannot be defeated. As we sung earlier, He is a risen, conquering Son. And when we trust in Him, our heart is helped. He cannot fail.

If death could not defeat Him, nothing else will either. You know, I'll tell you the time when you should worry. Here's the time when you should worry. And when this happens, I'll join with you in being frightened, and discouraged, and in utter despair.

Here it is. When someone wicked succeeds in this, when they physically go into heaven, and pull Christ off the throne, and bring Him back to earth, and stuff Him back in the grave, and put the stone back over the grave, that's when we can worry. Until then, we should be utterly, unassailably confident.

There is no one that will ever do that. Our Lord reigns. He is supreme.

And whatever we see happening around us will never, ever contradict that fact. And so, David here has appealed to God's character as his rock. He's asked to be separated from the wicked. Look at verse 3. Don't drag me away with them. I'm separate from them. Don't give me a common lot with those who hate your name, with the hypocrites, who speak one thing with their lips, but in their hearts have evil designed against those that they are speaking to. He says, God, I don't have any part in their wicked iniquity.

I don't share in their hypocrisy. And so, don't assign me a common fate with them. And the more I think about this, and think about what's happening in our world, and as I look to the future, I realize we may suffer. I realize we may be persecuted. Big deal.

Big deal. What matters is, is that God sees that we are separate, that we've sanctified ourselves by faith in Christ, that we have rejected this world. And he's not going to treat us as he deals with the world in the same way. He will deal with his children according to his grace and mercy, even as he deals with the wicked according to his justice and wrath. And we must be confident that God is able. Christ said that at the end of time, he will separate the sheep from the goats. He knows if we're a sheep or he knows if we're a goat, and we can be confident and rest in the fact that he'll make the distinction when it counts, and he will care for us in the end. I just do not buy into this mindset that whips us into fear and then asks us for a donation.

I just don't buy into that. We need to be confident in Christ even when in the world the wicked seem to be prevailing. What does David do? Look at verse 4. He asks God to give them a harvest of judgment that is consistent with the seeds of wickedness that they've sown.

Look at verse 4. Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices. Requite them according to the deeds of their hands.

Repay them their recompense. He says, Lord, reward them according to the wickedness of what they have done. He's asking God to vindicate his justice in light of the wicked conduct of his enemies. Now, that might sound a little bit harsh or severe on our New Testament ears, but take note of what he's doing here. This is not David praying selfishly, self-righteously, or vindicating himself here. Look at what he says in verse 5. What's the reason for his request?

What's the ground of it? He says it's because they do not regard the works of the Lord nor the deeds of his hands. He's recognizing the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, the perfection of his justice, and he has identified himself with the glory and the holiness of God to such an extent that he rejects that which opposes it. And he says, God, for your name's sake, for the sake of your glory, for the vindication of holiness, God, act and repay them in their unrepentant wickedness. Repay them so that your holiness might be vindicated, so that your glory might be known. Notice the contrast he makes here.

All these little things that are just woven like diamonds in a string of pearls that sparkle even more. Notice in verse 4 he says, he says, pay them back according to their work, according to the evil of their practices, their deeds. Notice the words, their work, their practices, their deeds. And their actions are an outworking of their wicked heart, their opposition to Yahweh. He says, Lord, that wickedness, I'm so identified with you that I just can't bear it. I ask you to act on behalf of your own name.

Now watch this. He sets their deeds over against the deeds of the holy God. He says, verse 5, they don't regard your works.

They don't regard the deeds of your hands. And so there's lots of deeds and works going on here. David says, Lord, I want yours to be vindicated.

I want yours to be upheld. And as he moves and shifts into that direction, and moves into the power of God, the justice of God, the holiness of God, and appeals to God to vindicate his own name and holiness, what happens? He begins to shift from the urgency of the crisis to the confidence of biblical faith. He believes that they will be overthrown permanently, that wickedness will not prevail in the end. Look at the end of verse 5 there. He says, He will tear them down and not build them up. Does that remind you of any verse that we've considered in the past through our study of Psalms?

I don't expect you to know what I'm talking about. Just go back to Psalm 1, verse 6. I want you to see, I could do this with almost every Psalm, because we said many, many times that the subsequent 149 Psalms in some ways are simply an outworking of Psalm 1, verse 6. It says, The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part one of his message, Confident in Crisis. Part two will come your way next time here on The Truth Pulpit. Don't miss a moment.

Right now, Don's back here in studio with some closing words. Well, hello, my friend. I want to thank you for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Thank you for being a student of God's word.

You are the reason that we do these things. We want to bring God's word to you in a way that makes it alive and applicable to you and brings you into a deeper knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, if you've benefited from this broadcast, we just ask you to do a simple thing. Go to our web page or go to our Facebook page. Look us up on Facebook and just drop us a little note, just a word that would let us know that you've appreciated today's broadcast or the other aspects of our ministry. We would love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to The Truth Pulpit. We are grateful to Christ for you. Just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-07 23:25:04 / 2023-04-07 23:34:38 / 10

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