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July 28, 2022 8:00 am
Sometimes God brings trials of great difficulty for the lives of faithful believers were not able to discern any purpose, for whatsoever so you followed the Lord Faith year while you're not perfect sought under the name of Jesus Christ been suffering comes is because you've done something wrong with that is most assuredly not the case as pastor Don Ream will show you on this edition of the truth. Pulpit tied a bill right Don is continuing to teach God's people. God's word with the series titled how long will God in part one of a message titled, though he slay us. Don will take us to Psalm 44 to reveal how we should deal with trials and suffering in a manner that remembers the past recognizes the present and trust God for the future you have your Bible handy as we join our teacher now in the truthful Psalm 44 is a national lament by the nation of Israel following an unexpected and seemingly unexplainable military defeat. We don't know the exact setting were confident that it was not something that occurred in the as a song that was written in the exile because the exile was a clear stated punishment for the sin of the people. It seems like it was probably something that preceded that a time not recorded in Scripture where they had suffered at the hands of a foreign army that had defeated them on the battlefield losses were great and there was no seeming explanation for it because God had promised to be a God who would go before them in their battles if they were faithful and here they are facing loss, suffering defeat in the midst of a fidelity to God in the midst of loyalty to their covenant responsibilities and yet they were defeated on the battlefield and Psalm 44 is a cry that says God why you are held. We need your help. There's nothing to keep you from helping us, and yet you've not helped us so help us is kind of the theme of this song we don't know as I said the exact setting, but we can understand enough to see as we go through the Psalm. What is going on and we can trace the response of the people of God to this calamity and fine food for our own soul, even though it was written as a national lament the spiritual principles that are at stake and literate play in this Psalm are the same principles that can sustain you in the midst of your trials and in that sense I know that it's a very timely Psalm for our church both corporately and individually, and so I thank God once again for the marvels of his providence. The way that he brings Scripture to us the right Scripture at the right time to meet the right need of our soul. I trust that as you listen. Today it will be with a sense of expectation that God will minister to your own heart and what is said here today. Now the song breaks down roughly in three sections you could negotiate where the exact breaks are bit but basically let me just give you little overview knowing that the Psalm is not familiar in the first eight verses what you see is the psalmist talking about the past success of the nation of Israel under the hand of God that God had blessed them and given them the land and now the people of God are still maintaining the faith that carried those people into victory in the promised land. There was success in the past and the people were self-consciously identifying with that lineage. But now, second section here now in the present. There is suffering that they cannot understand there are losses that have been painful and and have made them a laughingstock to the nations around them that defeated them that goes from verses nine through 22.
Then in verse 23 they look to the future and they renew their trust in God.
Even though there is nothing circumstantial to support them in that turn of trust once again to their God. So the past, the present and the future is really the way the Psalm breaks down. Let's look first of all, at the.
The success in the past.
The success in the past. One of the one of the great challenges for Christians as they move into their deeper into their Christian life. Many Christians not everyone, but most Christians have a have a time of spiritual let's say you for your where everything is well there is a time of blessing the newness of conversion is a great joy, and it is exciting and there is just blessing all around, and then something happens. A trial strikes of unexpected severity that seems to have no explanation of family relationship goes south death or injury or physical affliction intervenes. There's a financial reversal of fraud committed that no one saw coming and all of a sudden the world is turned upside down in the very issues of life are at stake in the natural question is why is this happening to me what happened to the place of blessing that I had been in people start to ask advice and does something wrong, will Scripture understands all of that. One of the things that you're going to see from Psalm 44 and that you see from the book of Job, and from the life of Christ from the life of the apostle Paul, is that sometimes in direct contradiction of the false theology of the health and wealth and prosperity movement.
Sometimes God brings trials of great difficulty into the lives of faithful believers were not able to discern any purpose, for whatsoever.
This is God's sovereign prerogative is his sovereign pleasure to do that and we are to trust him anyway and so let's look first as we go into the Psalm now Psalm 44. Let's look at the success in the past and just kind of follow what's going on in this song the psalmist as he writes this is recalling past times of God's favor to the nation in the opening two verses the psalmist is recalling the national history of Israel and how God blessed them in the past says in verse one, oh God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that you did in their days in the days of old, you with your own hand drove out the nations then you planted them. You afflicted the peoples then you spread them abroad. What we see from this opening to verses this is being written by someone who is a member of the nation of Israel.
They they belong to the covenant nation that the nation that God had favored with his revelation the nation that God had made his own people and he's recalling his rehearsing how in times long ago. God had delivered his people from slavery in Egypt and how God had delivered them from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh with miraculous deeds at the hands of Moses, God led them out from a great nation.
Though they were slaves led them out powerfully and delivered them from slavery after 400 years of affliction. In the course of their deliverance, God leads them through the Red Sea, they go through with walls of water on either side safely into the land God promised them to get into the land. Nations are there with armies with fortifications as in the fall of Jericho and God systematically dispossessed those nations of their land and brought his own people into the land and settled them and planted a nation there by his great power what the psalmist is doing is the Psalm opens is he is remembering. In summary fashion that miraculous deliverance that gave birth to a nation is remembering that he says God it was by your power that that happened. God, it was by your strength, not by the strength of our fathers that they were established that they were delivered and that you brought them into their own land and you planted them and they grew God. This was an act of you, not an active man. Our fathers have told us we have heard with our ears.
We believe it with our hearts. We identify with that spiritual lineage that we come from. That's is what he saying is you go on in verse three you see them giving a brief recitation of the fact that that God gave victory under Joshua and establish them in the land and he says it wasn't by the strength of our fathers. Look at verse three with me. He says, for by their own sword. They did not possess the land and their own arm did not save them but your right hand and your arm in the light of your presence or you favored them. He says God and this is a matter of prayer that we don't practice nearly often enough today. I suppose what he's doing in the Psalm is before he gets to the nature of the problem that is afflicting his heart is recalling history. He setting a context for the prayer that is yet to come. He says God I remember in this time of national difficulty that in the past by your power by your strength. You delivered our fathers. It wasn't there military expertise that did it. It was the fact that they were under your guidance under your grace under your love by your miraculous power you manifested to them your strength and you secured them in victory and establish them in the land.I remember that I praise you and I thank you for it. That's not a bad place to start in prayer. If you're struggling here today. You're in a time of affliction is Christian just go back to set your problem aside for moments I got. I remember I remember how you've blessed me in the past, how you blessed how you blessed others that I know.
Perhaps others who were in my biological lineage who were Christians and you bless them or other Christians I've known you've blessed them father.
I've seen how you have acted strongly for your people and I thank you for that and I thank you for how you've done that in my path.
That's a great place when you're in affliction is remember that your life hasn't always been one of affliction and trial you had times of God's blessing. Haven't you will remember that and let that frame the way that you pray. God favored this nation in the past with his power and disgrace.
Now as you follow through in the Psalm. Let me say one other thing about the songs.
I understand that for those that are just very superficially acquainted with the Bible you know there's an expectation I think that is sometimes brought an unspoken assumption and unrecognized presupposition that says every time I go to the songs I'm going to find something written that is in the spirit of Psalm 23 something that that speaks of security in faith and trust in God and you try to read every song from that perspective of the particular need that you bring to it.
As you read it, but the songs are like that. There is a broad variety of experience reflected in the songs.
There are just like in your own life. There is a broad asked nature of experience in your life, sometimes happy, sometimes sad sometimes difficult sometimes peaceful, sometimes you're concerned about what's happening at a national level in your country.
Sometimes it's deep spiritual anguish, confessing sin, perhaps trying to find your way through trials. There's a broad breath of of of experience in your own life will songs are like that to.
And it's important to realize that to let the Psalm speak and to let it let it be received on its own terms rather than trying to force it to speak immediately into the need that you think you're bringing to the text. What we need to do here today is to realize what the psalmist is saying let it speak for itself and then draw lessons from it, rather than just forcing. This is what I need today and trying to force it into saying something that wasn't meant to say now with that said, he opens up in these first three verses makes this historical framework God, you blessed our fathers in the past as you go on. Beginning in verse four he identifies himself and his nation with the fact that that's our faith to the faith in our fathers had.
That's our faith to were not separated from them were not distinguished from them. We self-consciously identify and place ourselves in the lines of the faith of our fathers, the fathers that you blessed in the past. Look at verse four. He says you are my King know God command victories for Jacob through you. We will push back our adversaries through your name. We will trample down those who rise up against us.
Notice just as a matter of observation how he switches from first person singular in first person plural. Sometimes he says you're my King.
Sometimes he speaks in the plural verse five they rise up against us.
This is perhaps indicating that maybe this was written by a king, perhaps by a military general who is speaking both on his own behalf, and as a representative of the people at large notes as is when a president speaks on behalf of our nation. He speaks in his own capacity in his own person.
In one sense, but also in a representative capacity for the people that he leads why gives you a sense of something like what's happening here in Psalm 44. The psalmist is saying you're my King know God.
Remember what he saying God, you're the God who blessed our people in the past and led them to victory your that God and you that God my God, he brings that past experience in says Lord that defines my perspective of faith in you. As I pray here today and he affirms that he and his people are trusting God as they go. He says in verse five, you know, through you will push back our adversaries will give us victory on the battlefield. Verse six he disclaims any confidence in self but in verse six he says, for I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me.
He says God I am not trusting in my own strength.
We are not trusting in our own military prowess to bring us victory with our eyes are fixed on you. We are looking to you for help. We are not trusting in ourselves and so he's clarifying in his own heart and in prayer where his face is another good place for you to go beloved as you're going through those deep waters to just simply clearly unambiguously affirm your faith in God and say God I am not trusting in my own abilities to deliver me from this affliction.
I am looking to you say I don't have any control over the attitudes of this person. I don't have any control over what they do. Father therefore and trusting in you who are sovereign over all to help me.
As the psalmist expresses that he goes on and recognizes that God has helped them in the past. In verse seven that you have saved us from our adversaries. There's a contrast were not trusting in ourselves and as we look back at the past and we see our success Lord that came from you. You have saved us from our adversaries. You have put to shame. Those who hate us. And in verse eight he says he says were full of gratitude as a result, in God we have boasted all day long and we will give thanks to your name forever. What's he saying there he saying is saying God our faith and our confidence is so completely in you. I want you to know that we recognize that our success in the past, came from the blessing of your hand and I want you to know that we recognize that were full of gratitude. We thank you for how you've blessed us in the past and we give thanks to you, our heart is inclined to gratitude we have not forgotten your blessing.
We have not forgotten all that you've done.
We give thanks to you. We recognize your supremacy and we bow humbly before you what he saying your time of affliction. That's what you do, you affirm the centrality of the goodness in the character of God, you recognize that any blessings that you had in the past of come from him and not by your own skill or wisdom and you think him and you express that gratitude toward him.
Look at the end of verse eight there over and most of your Bibles probably separated out a little bit in the margin is the word cell. That's a call to to stop to meditate to to think about what's just been said and what he saying is this in this first section he said is this beloved. This is so important to understanding the direction of the song. He says God we identify with the faith of our fathers, we confess that you are our God that are past blessings have come to you. We are inclined toward obedience toward faith, toward thanks we are.
We are unconditionally committed to blessing your name forever and ever says that's that's the condition that we bring. That's that that's the posture of faith with which I approach you here today so you stop and think about that now. Remember a couple of things as he wrote this song he was riding under the influence of the Holy Spirit who is guarding his heart from error regarding what was written for many sense of error or misrepresentation. What we have in these first eight verses is an accurate reflection of the condition of the people in the condition of the psalmist. When this was written, they are in a position of a spiritual trust not disobedience. They are in a position of gratitude, not complaining and murmuring and so based on the character of God and the ways acted in the past you would expect their life to be flowing out with external circumstantial blessing. That's not the case and you see that as you move into the second section of the song. Their experience was actually just the opposite, and I would I would love to preach the song to a a health and wealth, prosperity congregation. I know that that is almost certainly never going to happen, but if it did I would embrace the opportunity with gladness because it turns all of those assumptions on their head and exposes it for how un-biblical and wrong. It is because in this condition of faith identified with the people of God. Section 2. What do you see you see the suffering in the present, the suffering in the present. They are positioned spiritually where they should be, but life does not match up with what you would expect if it was simply a matter of the simple equation obedience leads to external blessing. Faith leads to prosperity.
If that was the case then there why everything is upside down for them rather than sharing in the victories of their ancestors. They were in the throes of a humiliating military defeat.
Look at verse nine with me, look at that keyword. Yet here we are at trusting thankful people and yet something different, it alerts you that something unexpected is about to come.
What does he say let let's look at verses nine through 12 together here is as yet you have rejected us and brought us to dishonor and do not go out with our armies.
You cause us to turn back from the adversary, and those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves. Stop right there for just a minute you see the core as he gives a little little description of what is the occasion of the song. He says God you have not gone out with our armies. We have experienced a humiliating defeat rather than advancing in victory. We are in retreat.
Those who hate us have taken our spoil. We are rejected and there is nothing but shame and dishonor to show for our efforts on the battlefield God.
This is not the way it's supposed to go. Every thought that in your trials cut on the Christian been in your word a bit in prayer. This is not how it's supposed to happen. That's what he struggling with here. Verse 11, he begins to describe it in a metaphorical sense.
He says you give us a sheep to be eaten and of scattered us among the nations you sell your people cheaply and if not profited by their sale. He says God, it's like you've handed us over a sheep to be slaughtered and why would you do that when we are your people and yet there's nothing to gain from this in your honor God. What's the value to the honor of your name when your people are humiliated on the battlefield.
Those who have trusted you that have gone out in your name.
Find defeat and shame in their spoil for their enemies.
How does this honor your name, God, there's nothing in this result for you alone for us.
Beloved. Here's what I want you to see those who hold to week teaching that when trials come they say Satan got me here on this is the devil that's viewing this and all of that know I need to pray for God to intervene and stop saying no to something really crucial here that is not at all. The perspective of the psalmist.
Look at verses nine through 12 with me again, he attributes their defeat to the sovereign action plan of God, not to their military prowess. Those who, as Christians were not promised perfect circumstances, devoid of trials on this side of heaven. Coping with those trials in a biblical manner is the key to maintaining faith and hope. Pastor Don Greene will conclude our series, how long know God on our next broadcast, so plan now to be with us right here on the truth pulpit but right now, here's Don Woodson exciting ministry news will my friend today.
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