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How Long Must I Suffer? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
July 26, 2022 8:00 am

How Long Must I Suffer? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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July 26, 2022 8:00 am

For Christians, suffering is not an aberration on this side of Heaven. Even though we know, we can still feel abandoned by God when great suffering arrives. Pastor Don Green will put it in perspective for you today on THE TRUTH PULPIT. --thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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Charles Spurgeon says we've called this the how long song. He said we'd almost called it the. The howling song David howling to God. How long how long God I cannot bear this.

I am crushed beyond my ability to endure for Christian suffering is not an aberration on the side of heaven. Even though we know that we can still feel abandoned by God. Great suffering arrived. Pastor John rain will put it all in perspective for you today on the truth but as he continues teaching God's people. God's word by bill right every beginning a series titled how long will God report one of a message titled, how long must I suffer and done, this series is a little personal for you is well that it is build this this one cuts close to my heart you know my friend. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of grace from the Lord. Over the years. He's blessed my life. I'm thankful for that I'm grateful to him.

But I also want you to know that there there been times where I have gone through deep valleys of a lot of discouragement different episodes in my life where it seemed like God was far away and it was hard to praying hard to read his word and those things went on for years. Sometimes, and it seemed like there was no end in sight.

Can you relate to that at all. What's important for you to know that the writers of Scripture knew those kinds of feelings of delay of seeming abandonment and they point us to the grace of God with their writings and our privilege today is to open God's word on this needful topic of suffering as we study God's word together today on the truthful. Thanks Don and Fred. Let's join our teacher now to begin today's message on the truthful, the great Charles Spurgeon said this about Psalm 13 he said this Psalm is intended to express the feelings of the people of God in those ever returning trials which beset them.

If the reader has never yet found occasion to use the language of this brief Psalm he will do so before long. If he be a man after the Lord's own heart. In other words, what Spurgeon is saying is this is the experience of God that we find expressed in Psalm 13 it will be the experience of the true people of God. At some point in their journey. If the Lord gives us an extended period of life here on earth to walk with him. There will be times of of deep sorrow and I repeat myself so much. I have said so many times in the past several weeks, not just recently that I like to be realistic. I think it is just so important for us over time as a body together. I look and see you know we are together as a body we are joined together his body rest, to be realistic of the fact that there will be times there will be episodes there will be seasons in our individual lives in our hearts as a body where the. The weight of life and the weight of living in this broken world seems utterly unbearable now it's not always like that. It's not always a time in a veil of valley of sorrow that we go through but there are times like that and if we pretend that spiritual life is always a joyous happy occasion on the top of the mountain and if we always in our public gatherings try to project that sense that that is not only the norm but that is the only expression of true Christian living. We are doing ourselves a great disservice and causing great destruction in the lives of the people of God, and I'm not willing to do that we as a church are not willing to do that and to pretend that the sorrows of life are not real if we acknowledge them if we address them.

Then we can come to Scripture and find that there is real help for them in the times when we most desperately need the so were not going to put on a false :-) that's not songs of joy are not appropriate when the heart is in great pain. There is a place for the minor notes to be played in the spiritual life and we find that when Scripture addresses us in those times of hurt and sorrow, we find a depth of soil for spiritual growth that far transcends what imagination and pretense could never do for us. Well, like I say, whatever we choose to do in interactions with men, at least vertically, we can come to Psalm 13 and find that which gives voice to for our souls to God in the midst of these times and if we can walk with God and find the comfort of God in them than the manner of dealing with men will sort itself out in time.

First of all, let's look at David side of despair as he opens the song, and he is intensely discouraged. You can practically hear him moan as he writes these words, what is it that has provoked him to this level of depth as he cries out repeatedly how long, O Lord will first of all, part of what's provoking. His soul is his silent God is silent God. Here is David suffering. The mere use. The repetition of how long let you know that he's been suffering a very long time and as he's prayed he is simply been met with seeming inaction on God's part.

God has not helped him. God has not responded. David has gone day by day, week by week, perhaps month by month trudging along crying out for help crying out for deliverance and finding that there is none. The difficulty of yesterday is repeated today and is on tap for the scheduled for tomorrow in the midst of that his loneliness aggravates the problem and from much distress and aggravation of soul. He cries out to God in verse one. He says how long, O Lord, will you forget me forever.

How long will you hide your face from me. How long shall I take counsel in my soul. How long will my enemy be exalted over me four times in those two verses. He cries out how long God has not provided the practical help. The David believes he needs in his difficulty. God has not answered God has not responded to his prayers. God has not blessed him with prosperity and peace it's evident.

Isn't it from the reading of the Psalm that that's his spiritual experience were not to chastise David for praying this way. Rather, we find sympathy and say here's a man who's been where I am.

Here's a man who's been where I've been I get this. I understand this this gives eloquent voice to that which I could not articulate the problems of my own soul, Charles Spurgeon again says that in his treasury of David. He says we have called this the how long Psalm. He said we'd almost called it the the howling Psalm HOWL ING like a coyote howling, we'd almost said the howling song from the incessant repetition of the cry how long David howling to God. How long how long God I cannot bear this this pain is too much for me.

I am crushed beyond my ability to endure. So what is it that's prompting David in this first of all, it says the.

The seeming silence of God in response to his distress.

Sometimes, beloved it will go for years. You know over the years I've talked with people in the midst of its distress in the lasses question how long do I continue on like this. And there's no pastor you want to have answers but there are times where I just don't know what to say. I don't have any. I don't have any answer I can't tell you how long it will be how long it will be before the relief comes but for the Christian does there come a point where I quit into that question. I answered not yet, not yet, however long it has been, however long it will be the time to quit, has not yet come.

And that's always true. Not yet.

We don't give up. We don't give in to it, but we instead turn our sorrow into this plaintive cry to the Lord, how long the Cisco on how long in this unequally yoked merits. It is so difficult for me.

How long with this rebellious child that will not respond to me. How long will my soul in my heart be broken over these things of God.

Very asking of the question shows that there's no end in sight right will.

Where do we go you know and the and in here's what here's what I would want you to see maybe is a passing observation at this point in the Psalm.

The very fact that David asked the question how long means that he doesn't see an end in sight but it doesn't stop there, and the fact that you wrestle with the issue doesn't mean that you stop there and in the discouragement and in the grief and crying out how long. There are other steps to take. From there, even though you don't see where the relief is to come. The fact that he cries it out. The song doesn't end there tells us that there is there is there is spiritual direction. Yet ahead and that's what I want you to see his silent God has provoked this cry. Secondly, also his suffering heart.

His suffering heart has provoked a look at verse two God's delay has burdened his heart. But in verse two, he goes on, and he says how long shall I take counsel in my soul having sorrow in my heart all the day God.

This is unbearable. This is insufferable. This is too much. He cries out in David's thoughts are evidently tossing within him, Martin Luther, the great reformer of course said this about this aspect of David song. He says his heart is like a raging sea in which all sorts of thoughts move up and down.

He tries on all hands to find a hole through which he can escape. He thinks on various plans and still is utterly at a loss of what to do." Beloved.

That's Martin Luther saying that that's the man who launched the Reformation describing that aspect of spiritual experience. What I want you to see there there is a certain deep and profound comfort in that.

To see men like that. Recognizing the depth of the struggle to identify with a man like David in the struggle to identify with our Lord Jesus on the cross when he cried out my God my God why have you forsaken me. These are not men lightly dismissed. Obviously, especially as we speak of Christ. We look at our Lord primarily and then we look at these other men of like human flesh with ours, whom God used so greatly. To whom God called men after his own heart, whom God used to shape centuries of church theology and experience, and I find something really helpful. There in my own life and my own past sorrows and I invite you into this realm of comfort as well. You know the superficial nature of much of preaching. Not all preaching, but much preaching in our day and age the superficial expectations of Christians around us. You know, put on a happy face and what I can't put on a happy face. The tears will make the makeup run. If I do and I find help in stepping out of the superficiality of the age in which we live in. Stepping into the deep experience of true men of God proven in Scripture proven on the cross, proven by vindication in church history say these are the men that I want to identify with these men understand the word of God understands. Even if my world doesn't even if my circle of acquaintances doesn't even if my circle of Christian friends doesn't been there. I speak from experience. I've known as many of you have the stinging barbs of Job's so-called comforters, the stinging barbs of people, perhaps even well intended but their words simply pour salt on the wound because they're unwilling to recognize the validate and to enter into the suffering with you and you just realize how how useless it is and with Job and with my friend Steve Creel offense. Incidentally, to say, oh if you would just be silent and and your silence would become your wisdom. If you don't have anything intelligent and useful and biblical to say in this manner of despair at least keep your lips closed and don't make it worse.

How long does cry how long is the sobs come again.

How long Lord must be drug through this Scripture. I hope you see the Psalm comes to us and comes alongside us. This Psalm written 3000 years ago under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This song from God's holy word comes alongside an inner enters into the depths of those recesses of our soul and and and whispers to us. I understand the song God's word comes and puts its arm around us and draws us close and embraces us in the midst of that kind of spiritual experience and says I understand here's help here's direction you're not alone. This is not alien to the experience of the true people of God that beloved, even if no one else on earth understands that is worth 10,000 happy faces that is worth 10,000 bouncy sermons that is worth 10,000 may it's it's it's far better than 10,000 false promises of immediate comfort that will prove to be false. How long I see no answer. I see no way forward.

God, how long, and Scripture comes into your soul and says were here. The Bible understands, we find that though no man understands us, we have a book. We have a word from God that understands us, and that's far better so David silent God.

David suffering heart is provoking this cry of how long.

Also, we could say his surging enemy. His surging enemy. David's enemies are too strong for him. Look at the end of verse two, he says, how long will my enemy be exalted over me. It's not just the spiritual suffering. It's not just the agitations of his heart. There is a human dimension to this as well.

He has, as he often did enemies and it's not the enemy is not specifically identified.

There's no historical background given to help us know what episode of David's life. This comes from. We have to be content simply to say that somehow there is a man who is opposed to him who is somehow prevailing over him unrighteously. David writing as the king of Israel finds his godly position threatened his his representative capacity for the people of God. In addition to his own earthly sorrow at stake and in that circumstance. God is nowhere to be found seemingly David is afflicted both internally and externally. Men assaulted him and God is in active.

No wonder no wonder he cries out how long how long how long how long four times. I didn't even exaggerate.

So we see his side of despair and the reason for it.

But as I said the Psalm doesn't end there. And sometimes beloved, I would say this in looking back in my own episodes of deep sorrow. I was content to stay in the first two verses of Psalm 13, you might say I didn't I didn't understand. I didn't embrace no one had ever told me that even in the midst of that kind of deep sorrow that there is that there is still spiritual responsibility.

There is a way to respond rather than simply staying in the realm of verse two and that there is there is a there is a spiritual response for the people of God to seek and to activate into to do in the midst of that we see it in the second point the summons for deliverance. The summons for deliverance in James it says you do not have because you do not ask were reminded here in the next section of the Psalm that there is a place and there is a responsibility for us to to ask for the help that we need.

David has been asking, but having found that there is no deliverance. Yet he needs to ask yet again and in the midst of his despair. He asks for help from God. All beloved. This is so very important. Let me read verse three and then make a comment on it.

Verse three he says consider and answer me oh Lord my God, enlighten my eyes or I will sleep the sleep of death. He's thought this over incessantly and he has no answers. He doesn't know what the solution is there something so very practical to what I'm about to say that that certainly responds to a lot of false thinking that I had in my life.

Earlier on what I think is not uncommon in the broader realm of supposed Christian thought and experience on the whole matter of prayer. Let me state negatively. First, David here in this Psalm does not he does not have a solution.

He doesn't know what the way out. He is in a black dark room surrounded by by a black curtain with blindfold on, he can see his way forward. Now how many times have I heard in ministry, you would have no way of knowing the number. How many times have you heard people trying to figure out what it is are supposed ask for in prayer. You know what is it the solution that I want and then I'll ask for that and saying you know if I can just figure out what the what the answer to this complex dilemma is all ask for that and then that'll be the key that unlocks it. The idea being that the you have to you have to figure out what you need before you can ask God for it and get help for it. That's not that's not true that in fact that's a very foolish way to think first of all, is not true to experience. There are times where there's times where there is no solution to to your sorrow. There is there is no bringing back the past in order to make the present feel better.

You can't do that, that's impossible. And beyond that. Thinking theologically here.

God always has a purpose for us in the midst of our sorrows, but he doesn't tell us in advance what that long-term purpose is how can we know in the in the present in the moment what it is that God is working out. He doesn't reveal that to us. So how are we supposed to know how to ask for what he would do as if we needed to have the circumstantial solution figured out, and then we go to God and ask him for it.

Now it's just the opposite beloved this for some of you. I realize this may turn your whole thinking about prayer upside down and so it's about time and for your benefit.

Know the whole point of these episodes in life is that we go to God in in utter humility and utter dependence is a God.

I don't know what to make of this. I don't have any solutions God I can't change this situation. I can't change this person. I can't change this hostility.

I can't silence the pride of my enemies.

I can't humble them. There's nothing I can do. I don't have a secret bank account in Switzerland to go to to find my way out of this Lord.

I am helpless here and that is precisely the point that I don't have any answers you help me. You're the one with all the wisdom you're the one who is omniscient, you know the future. You have a purpose. You have a plan, you help me I can't help myself here and you embrace your I mean this in a constructive way you embrace your ignorance, you embrace your inability you embrace your lack of understanding and say, God, that's precisely why I'm here.

I need someone greater than me to help me and that you I need I need my Lord, my master, my King, I need you to help because I have none to give to myself. There is an utter bankruptcy. There is a poverty of spirit involved in this kind of praying that you, and you lay that out, rather than thinking that somehow people get the distorted idea in the mind in their mind that the way to pray in the midst of such circumstances is the figure out the answer and then you go and informed God what the answer should be, so that he can do it, see it clearly realize how foolish that sometimes our hearts are too broken to think clearly what will pause right there for today but pastor Don Greene will have part two of his message titled, how long must I suffer next time here on the truth pulpit so sure to join us then, but right now Don's back your in studio with a special invitation a friend.

If you are anywhere near the Cincinnati area and you don't have a good church home.

I invite you to visit us a truth community church. I'm in the pulpit. Almost every Sunday and we have a loving congregation that would simply be thrilled to meet you and welcome you to our body, we are striving to manifest the principles that you heard taught today. Why not come and see us. Bill will help you find us on our website. Just visit the truth. for directions and service times. That's the truth. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you to join us again next time when Don Greene continues teaching God's people.

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