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September 24, 2022 8:00 am
Welcome to through the song's weekend ministry of the truthful teaching God's people.
God's word over time will study all 150 Psalms with pastor Don Greene from truth community church in Cincinnati, Ohio were so glad you're with us. Let's open to the Psalms right now as we join our teacher in the truthful open as we continue our study in the Psalms in Psalm 89 is where were going to be turning to and one of the things that a careful reading and study of the Psalms over a period of time will do is it will help you in your expectations about the nature of spiritual life as a Christian.
The idea that becoming a Christian will solve all of your problems and and make life easy and smooth is a falsehood that is destined to cause difficulty and trouble internally for one who is a true Christian and yet has to go through life eventually life catches up with you eventually life brings its difficulties and its sorrows, because we live in a fallen world, the perfection of life and the perfection of joy that is promised to Christians is a promise that is still future force in its fulfillment.
The perfection of it. Of course we love Christ, and we experience joy and and gladness during our days on earth as he gives blessings as he strengthens us as we fellowship with him through the Holy Spirit. And as we fellowship with one another we experience much joy of which we are not worthy in this life, but it's subject to change. Life is subject to loss subject to sorrow because it is a fallen world, and the promises of ultimate fulfillment, are awaiting glory. They're not for earth right now because even as we saw in just a few moments ago. Eventually, unless the Lord comes quickly. All of us are going to in one way or another be laying on that bed with the death due on our brow man is appointed to die once and after this comes judgment, and so we need to have realistic expectations about the nature of things, even as our hope is firmly grounded in Christ.
Even as our hope is is transcendent. Even though we know joy unspeakable and full of Gloria's Peter writes about. There is still the challenge of affliction that we have to respond to, and when we come to a text like Psalm 89 we get a really good perspective on these kinds of things so Psalm 89 is the third longest Psalm in the Psalter by at least five numbers of verses and so were not going to read it for the sake of time before I begin my exposition will just kinda go through it paragraph by paragraph this evening as we seek to treat all of them in a single message. Psalm 89 is this beloved Psalm 89 is an extended discourse in which this almost is seeking to reconcile a conflict in his mind and in his heart he knows one thing to be true, and yet another thing is true in these things seem to be in tension in his mind and what is that tension there is this tension between in his experience God's past promises to his people specifically to David. There is the tension with that on the one side and then on the other side they are in the midst of a present distress that seems to contradict all of those promises that God had made. And so, in this song. The psalmist is going through this measure of trying to affirm the promises that he knows to be true, and reconciling them with his present difficulty. Now you can relate to that. Can't you. There are times you're especially those of you that have been Christians for any length of time you've come to know God and to trust him. You've come to understand that he promises to work all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purposes. You know, verses like Philippians forward says I can do all things through him who strengthens me and are mindful of these things mindful of rejoicing in the Lord always, and yet life comes at you like a bowling ball barreling down the alley and you're standing there like a couple of pins just waiting to get knocked over and life hits you, and it hits you heart and life is difficult, and it is sore in and day by day.
It's difficult sometimes to go through and even to get up in the morning and the conflict with people just seems to go on and on and and there isn't any immediate relief. Whether you consciously frame it in your mind like this or not, there is this tension between the promises of the word of God and what your present experiences that seems to fall short of what those promises are to you. We can be honest with one another, were not afraid of those kinds of times and the only way that we can really help each other as to address them. Honestly not, and not to pretend like it doesn't exist.
I would hate to be a Christian scientist who denies the very existence of evil and in the fact that everything is good this is.
That's a horrible philosophy to live by because it's a denial of the nature of life in a fallen world and you knew just end up pretending and you live in a fantasy world that has no connection with reality that has nothing to do with true Christianity, true Christianity can look at the difficulties of life square in the face ask the hard questions and come to a soul satisfying answer and that's what were going to see here in Psalm 89. Break it down into two parts of unequal length. The first two thirds of this Psalm, you could put under the title of the lofty promises to David the lofty promises to David and then the last third of the Psalm. We could describe it as the lowly position of the nation, the lofty promises to David going from verse one to verse 37 the lowly position of the nation going from verse 38 to the end. Let's look at it, shall we, Psalm 89 opens with this wonderful praise to God for his enduring character. It opens on a note of praise. He says in verse one. This is a mass goal of Ethan the Ezra hide it says in the inscription in verse one it says I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever to all generations. I will make known your faithfulness with my mouth, for I have said lovingkindness will be built up forever in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness. You have to like his starting point. Don't you you have to like the way than the starting point of his theme. The starting point of his meditation. He is starting with the loyal love of God and his faithfulness. He is recognizing the fact that God is a God who keeps his promises and he is a God of loyal love and so he starts and praises him on that basis, and he names these perfections of God in the context of David. Now that's very very important for the outworking of this song look in verse three it spoken in the first person as though on directly from the lips of God himself says in verse three I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn to David my servant, I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations that we looked at the Davidic covenant last time from second Samuel chapter 7 and we saw that God had promised King David a Howells and a throne in a kingdom that would endure forever.
God had chosen David and bestowed on him. These magnificent promises of the enduring blessing that would last from generation to generation to generation and so those who were in living in the nation of Israel living under the. The kingship of these promises. In the outworking of these promises. They understood that they were under the umbrella of some great promises to God that guaranteed the long-term blessing of their nation and so this was their source of stability. This was there rock this was that upon which they stood in the nature of the promises were that this was to extend into the into the indefinite future. This was to last a very very long time indeed the word forever, the word forever is a theme to this entire Psalm and I want you to see it because it helps ground the nature of his appeal to God, toward the end. So in verse one and two.
You see, I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever. Verse two lovingkindness will be built-up forever verse four I will establish your seed forever. Verse 28 my lovingkindness. I will keep for him forever. Verse 29 so I will establish his descendents forever. Verse 36.
His descendents shall endure forever.
Verse 37 it shall be established forever like the moon and the witness in the sky is faithful and so what the word forever is communicating here in this song is the fact that God's promises to David were to last forever, just as the heavens do not change during the course of the existence of man. So God's promises were to be kept God's promise would not be broken.
And this is guaranteed. Beloved by the loyal love of God. The word translated lovingkindness. This is guaranteed by his faithfulness and so God's character lies behind the promises that he's made to the throne of David and this is to guarantee the well-being of Israel into the indefinite future, and so on.
These promises are. It's like our promises were not subject to being broken. You know, we could make promises we fully intend to keep it. You know if lightning strikes us and suddenly were incapacitated or taken the glory. We can't keep the promises that we make. You and I don't have the ability to absolutely guarantee what were going to do in the future. Guarantee it.
Absolutely without fail because were frail and subject to death at any time, so there's always a certain conditionality to our promises even in our best strength even with our best intentions because we are not the masters of our own destiny. We do not control our fate, so to speak, we cannot guarantee that were going to be alive tomorrow and so there is always a certain conditionality in the things that we say die, I get a little carried away with it.
You know and all say something like will hail. See you tomorrow but there's this echo in my mind that Jan kinda crossing my fingers. Well, maybe I will, maybe I won't.
I don't know my intention but I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow.
My life is vapor a minute passed away.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring in so we we realize that there is a certain conditionality to the nature of human existence for us but beloved. It's not like that for God is transcendent. He dwells beyond time. He is self existent.
What he says he is able to do because he is the God of perfect omnipotence. He has the unlimited power to carry out his will, no matter what happens, and that's what he does in the fact that he is true and the fact that he is faithful means that he will do what he promised he will do it because there is nothing to prevent him from doing so and his own character, his own love his own loyalty is owned faithfulness to his word, his own truthfulness guarantees the whatever he is promised will be perfectly fulfilled and so God is not like God's.
When he makes a promise he not only makes promises that he can keep. He makes promises that he will keep and that's what the psalmist is extolling here. Look at verse three with me again. He's starting out, echoing God in your lovingkindness and your faithfulness.
You said this, I've made a covenant with my chosen sworn to David my servant will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations selloff park it there and think about that for a while. This is what God said this is the promise that God made was to his servant David and he promised to continue it into the indefinite future. And that covenant premised on the character of God is the hit. This is so important for understanding. Psalm 89.
That's why a slow down just to emphasize it because I don't want you to miss it. I realize I get up and I kinda drone on and it's hard to know what's important and what's not. Not here that covenant with David is the basis for his entire appeal and the rest of the song.
There is praise for the lofty promises but then there is trouble later on an underlying it all, or are these promises that God made to David and so he starts with as he moves on. Beginning in verse five he amplifies his praise. He recognizes that God has made these promises as it is an extension of grace to unworthy people.
These promises are an expression of his kindness and so he realizes that to be under the promises of God to be on the receiving end of promises that are guaranteed to them as a people, is a position of blessing, it's a position of having been on the receiving end of God's infinite kindness, and therefore he praises God for it. Look at verses five, six and seven. He says the heavens will praise your wonders of the Lord your faithfulness. Also in the assembly of the holy ones for who in the skies is comparable to the Lord who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord God greatly feared in the counsel of the holy ones and also above all those who are around him. He saying that God even in the midst of the holy angels you are transcendent above them nephew and I were in the presence of just in the present and the convocation of the holy angels would be overwhelmed by their glory in their majesty because are greater beings than us in that way and live in and they would dwarf us in the their glory would frighten us, even as a frightened Mary at the resurrection. What he saying is God when you're in the midst of an assembly like that you are superior and far above them and you transcend even that there is no one like you. No one compares to you his train of thought here is that God if your exalted amount among the angels, then how much more are you above men angels are greater than men in your greater than angels. You are exponentially greater than us your infinitely beyond us, and therefore he personifies the heavens and says they will praise you, they will praise you for your faithfulness. There is no one like you. You are awesome above everyone that is around you, and it's that awesome God in his faithful, loyal love that has extended these promises to his people and so when you trace these things out you realize how magnificent God is. You realize how wonderful he is been to his people and the, the force of that in your heart should compel you should urge you to praise him for his excellent greatness, even as the hymn writer said praise him praise him praise him for his excellent greatness that is premised on the reality of who God is, the greatness of his character and the promises that he is made to his people. Now let's you and I in this New Testament era, take it a step further, as I like to do as we go through the Psalms and do our best to keep Christ in the center of our contemplations. Here we are in the New Testament and we realize this lofty glorious God became incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was lofty and exalted, he humbled himself in order to become a man.
Philippians 2 not just become a man, but to be obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross in order to accomplish our redemption, which we will celebrate in communion on Sunday celebrating the theme of redemption as we come together around the Lord's table will beloved the more that you explore the various core doors in the palace of the glory of God. As you walk down the great halls of the Buckingham palace of the glory of God and you realize that there are there are various core doors to explore and to praise him for you, praise him for his great character down one corridor or in your lost and wonder love and praise their you go down another core door to the promises that that is made to his people and how how gracious and condescending it is for him to make promises like that to unworthy people and you praise him and you praise and you go down another core door of the of the Buckingham palace of the greatness of the glory of God and you see Christ in his splendor. You see Christ on the cross he see Christ in his resurrection. You see, Christ ascended to glory.
You see Christ, promising to come again and say this is this is magnificent. There's nothing on earth like this and then you go down another core door and you realize that this Christ did that in order to secure your eternal salvation that you would become part of the family of God and that you would that you would be perfected in glory rescued from sin and damnation made perfect around his throne to enjoy his glory forever and ever on sailors.
There's no way out of this.
I don't even want to leave this palace because everywhere every corner that I go to every corner. I walked down every door that I open is just opening more and more wonders for me to see about the greatness of the glory of God is transcendent. There is no one that compares to him now. The psalmist goes on and expands on it even more.
He says in verse nine, he's calling more things to bear, to ascribe glory to God in what he says in verse nine he says you rule the swelling of the sea when its waves rise, you still them. You yourself crushed Rahab like one who was slain you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm, a Rahab, there is a reference a poetic reference to Egypt, we saw that in the past. Isaiah 30 verse seven makes that connection clear God, you rule the oceans. Those of you that have been on a beach and seen the ways coming in. You realize how impossible that is for man to harness its his ocean. He rules the waves his power is so great that he is sovereign over the ocean and what the psalmist is saying is that looking back into our history.
You were sovereign over Egypt. The greatest political and military power of the day and you delivered your people from there from slavery in Egypt tied your your Majesty is utterly unfathomable and so he's he's got this earthly perspective is. He looks at the God's sovereignty over the ocean's sovereignty over the nations, and then it just keeps going. There's another core door in the palace to explore verse 11.
The heavens are yours.
The earth also is yours the world and all it contains. You have founded them. Verse 12 the North and the South you have created them.
Table 4 and Herman shout for joy in your name. These are mountains that are being personified in the nation of Israel.
You have a strong arm. Your hand is mighty your right hand is exalted and you're just swept up in the Majesty of this archer as you recite these things again and again as you go through wave after wave after wave of the things for which God is to be glorified and to be magnified. You're just swept up with this thought that I would summarize here this evening. Anyway, of just recognizing that God is so lofty, he is so high. He is so majestic he is so quaint.
He is so good. There's no one like him. There's no one like him. There's no one like him, you know, let me do a little foreshadowing here was going to come. It's not that the psalmist here is experiencing earthly bliss. It's the exact opposite.
Whatever the opposite of bliss is is what he's actually experiencing but he sets that aside, he puts that on hold in order to magnify the greatness of God and to praise him and and what we see is this that is quite the challenge to our own spiritual lives. We don't have to wait until our problems all get worked out and we get all of our inner turmoil sorted out before we praise God that's not the way to think about the Christian life. That's not the way it is intended to work. God is independently worthy of your praise and honor and worship right now and it is right and proper in good and expedient in the thing to do to praise him for his great loftiness even in the midst of your turmoil.
Don't take the truncated selfish view of the Christian life that says boy I'll be glad when this is over, and then all praise God all praise God when he gets me through this well why not just praise God now because he's really lofty. He's really worthy regardless of how our circumstances play out in life and it's right for the believing heart to ascribe praise to him that is unconditioned on how our circumstances turn out. That's just so very critical for us to see to know and practice. And so God is lofty in his perfections or a source of blessing. Look at verse 14 verse 14 says righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne, lovingkindness and truth go before you. In other words, God everything that you do everything that plays out in the outworking of your plan is premised in righteousness, justice, your loving kindness and your truth. Verse 15 how blessed are the people who know the joyful sound. Oh Lord, they walk in the light of your countenance in your name they rejoice all the day and by your righteousness they are exalted, your people are blessed to be to be a part of the people of God is the greatest earthly blessing that any mortal could ever know to belong to a God like this is better than owning Buckingham palace. I mixing my metaphors here tonight our time using it to illustrate God's glory and using it to illustrate the utter failure of earthly things to compare to the greatness of our God to be his people is to be blessed and why is that verse 17, for you are the glory of their strength, and by your favor our horn is exalted God we to be your people to be in the round in which you exercise and manifest your righteousness and favor in glory to your people to have you as our God to have you as our sovereign to know that you are at work in us and have secured our blessing forever is the greatest blessing that any human being could no and so he is just swept up in in praise now he expands on it and ties this back to the promises that God is made to David in verse 18 in verse 18. He says for our shield belongs to the Lord shield being a reference to the king, as shown by the parallel line here in verse 18 for our shield belongs to the Lord and our king to the holy one of Israel, and so he's recognizing the great character of God, his great work is great faithfulness and in that great faithfulness he's established a king for Israel for them to live their earthly lives under the mediatorial rule of this king who is a representative of God on earth for them and they are blessed because their king belongs to this lofty God and at the mention of the king. The psalmist recalls how God chose him. In verse 19 how God chose the king that is verse 19 he said once you spoke in vision to your godly ones and said I have given help to one who is mighty I have exalted one chosen from the people who is this chosen one of whom he speaks follow along in verse 20. I have found David my servant with my holy oil.
I have anointed him with whom my hand will be established.
My arm also will strengthen him. Now what these verses are indicating remember he's referring back to the Davidic covenant that we looked at last time, how God promised blessing upon David and his subsequent line in the fact that God is sovereign, means that he would exercise his power to bring blessing to David into his line. Now what those verses are indicating then God would use his arm.
That is a a metaphor for his power and God would uphold David's throne and protect David from his enemies.
Verse 22 the enemy will not deceive him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him, but I shall crush his adversaries before him and strike those who hate him so the promise of God to David and his descendents I will protect him from wickedness. I will defeat his imminent enemies David and his throne will flourish under my hand and under my blessing, and so this is just going on and on and on about the character of God and the promises that he made that surely Israel would live under his blessing. And what is it that guarantees that blessing. What is it that guarantees the triumph over the enemies look at verse 24 my faithfulness and my lovingkindness will be with him and in my name, his horn will be exalted. See the themes of faithfulness and lovingkindness. Again, God, you are faithful and full of lovingkindness, God, you spoke to David and said your faithfulness and loyal love would be that which would guarantee the upholding of his throne. Verse 25.
I shall also set his hand on the sea in his right hand on the rivers. In other words, there would be a geographic spread of the reign of David in a way that would manifest the lofty faithfulness of God to keep his promises to exalt his king, they would rain from the Red Sea and the South to the Euphrates River in the north great promises. The beloved.
It wasn't simply wasn't simply about geographic conquest or military might, or the prosperity of the people. There was a spiritual component to these promises, the king would love God.
Verse 26 he will cry to me you are my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation, there would be in response through the king there would be this response of faith there would be this responsive love of obedience of devotion of allegiance from the kingdom of God would establish them on the throne.
This was just to be a paradise on earth, so to speak. In verse 27 God says I shall also make him my firstborn, the want of preeminence, the highest of the kings of the earth my lovingkindness. I will keep for him forever in my covenant shall be confirmed to him so I will establish his descendents forever in his throne as the days of heaven and so stated in clear, lofty repeated themes is this idea of the blessing of God on the throne of David, secured by his power secured by his faithfulness would be the mark of God's blessing upon his people forever. This is undergirding this first part that we've entitled the lofty promises to David, this is just you will understand the sense in which I say this this is out of this world is out of this world how great this is. This comes from another realm. And it is heaven brought to earth. The security the power of the glory of heaven brought to earth to be manifested through the throne of David now there was a certain kind of conditionality to the promise in verse 30 it says if his sons forsake my law and do not walk in my judgments.
If they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. He says he says to enjoy this blessing. There must be a reciprocal obedience.
There must be a response of obedience to my promises. And if there's not to be consequences, we saw that last time in second Samuel seven as well and beloved as you read through the history of Israel in first and second Kings after Solomon fell in the kingdom was split under his son.
The sad history of Israel's kings shows how this worked out in time, but the nature of the covenant was such that though the blessing might be forfeited for a parenthesis of time. The covenant would not be broken from God's perspective is lovingkindness toward his people would not change. Look at verse 33, he says, but I will not break off my lovingkindness from him nor deal falsely in my faithfulness, my covenant I will not violate nor will I alter the utterance of my lips. Verse 35.
Once I have sworn by my holiness I will not lie to David. His descendents shall endure forever in his throne as the son before me, it shall be established forever like the moon and the witness in the sky is faithful what God is saying here is that the ultimate outcome of these lofty promises that I've made to David depend on my nature depend on my character depend on what I have promised, and I won't break off my promise from the line of David. Even if there is a time in which their disobedience requires my disciplining hand.
God promises blessing to his people.
He keeps his people, but sometimes they feel the sting of discipline along the way.
Now flash forward to the New Testament Scripture speaks about God dealing with us as believers in Christ and that way doesn't it.
In Hebrews 12 everyone. The Lord loves he disciplines that we had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. How much more shall we be subject to the father of spirits, and live so it's not that sin will go unaddressed.
As a result of these promises but underlying it all is what is being said here. Toward the end of this first section in Psalm 89 is that the nature of God guarantees the ultimate outcome of the promises and that means that the promises will ultimately be kept.
They will be fulfilled.
The performance of men. The sin of men will not break the covenant irrevocably might suspend the blessing for a period of time. But God's faithfulness means he will keep the promises they made the David. In the quotation the promises to the seed of David as a whole will not be withdrawn and notice what God stakes it on.
He compares the certainty of his promise to the course of the heavens above that are so predictable, so certain, so consistent in their span around the universe. He says in verse 37. Look at it with me. It shall be established forever like the moon and the witness in the sky is faithful and so we have here from the character of God. The promises of God. The outworking of these promises to David and the people we see this that God has made these lofty promises to the line of David A's promise to keep amenities. It's as though he he swore by his own name, he guaranteed it by the course of heavens that his disposition here it is his disposition toward the people of David would not change he would do what he promised to do. He had made lofty promises to the line of David. And so the questions this what you going. What could go wrong if this God makes this promises to this people. What could go wrong.
Well, that brings us to our second section of the song which was titled the lowly position of the nation.
The lowly position of the nave nation. What could go wrong.
Apparently everything could go wrong. Apparently everything could go wrong and now in verse 38 you are met with a collision of a jarring contrast that seems to be completely irreconcilable with the praise that had gone forth in the prior 37 versus this doesn't even seem to be possible in light of what has just been said, verse 38 look at it with me. Here are the first person voice of God breaks off and now the psalmist speaks in light of his present circumstances. He says in verse 38 but you have cast off and rejected. You have been full of wrath against your anointed you have spurned the covenant of your servant, you have profane his crown in the dust.
God, we do not have your promised blessing and there were times in the history of Israel were.
This was just so painfully obvious. It was certainly the case in the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. If you want to read about how bad it got for them. Read the book of Lamentations and see the awfulness of their destitution and their desperation after they had been invaded and carried off into exile. Now, a number of images follow here beginning in verse 42 illustrate the devastation.
These are illustrations of how bad it had become what I want you to see just give you little preface of what's about immediately to come. Is this is that the psalmist holds God responsible for this devastation, as shown by the repeated use of the pronoun you, you have done this so God look at it as we read these next six verses verses 40 through 45 that you started in immediately. In verse 38 you have cast off verse 39 you have spurned the covenant you've profaned his crown in the dust.
Now look at it in verse 40 is that you carries on, you have broken down all his walls.
You have brought a strongholds to ruin all who pass along the way. Plunder him. He is become a reproach to his neighbors. You've exalted the right hand of his adversaries. You've made all his enemies rejoice.
You also turn back the edge of his sword and have not made him stand in battle you have made his splendor to cease and cast is thrown to the ground.
You shorten the days of his youth. You've covered them with shame so law ponder that. Think about that. He says God here we are in this current experience in our nation. What's happening to us bears no resemblance to the promises that you made to us beforehand. It's mournful, it's explicit. It's painfully honest says Lord were defenseless. We are subject to roaming invaders. Our walls are broken down. We can't even defend our city like a soldier with a dull sword who can't stand in battle in all of this father has come from your hand. And here is the virtual fracture of his mind in the midst of that circumstance God, when I look at the nature of our existence right now and compare it to the promises character, the covenant that I've been reciting for the prior 37 versus in our English Bible here when I compared to that. This makes absolutely no sense to me.
This is completely inconsistent. This seems to be a complete contradiction of your lofty name and the promises that you made to David, the crown is not exalted. It is profaned in the dust. God, you could say it this way, the God who made the promise has now and made the king. It is as though God has forgotten the covenant of which he himself made such a fuss over how do I how do I put this together is the tension that he has and so he turns to prayer in verse 46. He says how long the Lord will you hide yourself forever.
Will your wrath burn like fire in these circumstances. For the psalmist. It is as though God was hiding. He could not be found. And notice how the word forever has sprung up in the theme of this Psalm again in the first 37 verses we sought in this in this glorious promise of how God's promises would extend in the glory would would would just continue in God's blessing would pour out and now he saying God. This is been going on so long. It seems like this is the new reality, by which I will understand my existence. How long will this go on. Are you just going are you just going to hide forever.
In the years in which we have suffered this affliction and you have not intervened. Is this darkness just going to continue without end, after you've made all of these glorious promises of which I have rightly praised you for God. The prayer is God. Where is your faithful love in this book your entering into the mind of the psalmist here. You can't help but sympathize with him.
Can you. This breaks your heart to realize this and the challenge for the believer in Christ.
The challenge for the believer. When this kind of dark cloud spreads over your life and becomes the new nature of existence for you is this.
It's not just the outward circumstances is it. It's not simply the fact that life is hard. It's the fact that God seems nowhere to be found.
The prior times when you prayed and answers quickly came seem to have no relevance to a time like this is going to go on forever. The great promises seem distant. When the sorrow and the affliction and the seeming contradiction of God's faithfulness is right in your face, day after day with no relief to be found in meanwhile there are these chirping voices sometimes of so-called friends sometimes of your enemies where's your God, where's your God. Job's wife.
You'll remember seeing him suffer in like manner, the widest curse God and die. It isn't worth it. Regards, nowhere to be found. Anyway, so relieve the tension by cursing him. Diane get it over with. Thanks babe that's helpful now a lot of people a lot of so-called Christians find this kind of text in these kinds of discussions very uncomfortable because to their ears to their all to say it say what I'm thinking. Why not to their immature years. This sounds like a lack of faith. It sounds as though it is rebellion against God.
We hide yourself forever. Will your wrath burn like fire. That sounds like rebellion to the untrained ear. The beloved. This is not a cry of unbelief. This is not a call of rebellion. This is not a a sinful spiritual temper tantrum that is taking place here. This psalmist has a legitimate tension in his heart, and it is attention.
He said again it is a tension in his heart that is prompted by the very reality that he believes everything that he said in the first 37 verses it's because he believes that this is so difficult is because he's a man of faith that this seeming contradiction troubles him so much, you know, no one gets worked up over the loyalty of God. If they don't believe in it. What he's doing here is calling on God and faith holding God do his own word to his own character sing got. How long can this go on.
My heart breaks for my heart breaks for those of you that are finding ourselves in situations like that. I know it's hard. I've been there and it is so important for us. In my humble opinion is so important for us to realize that this tension is real. This is not an academic exercise for him.
His whole heart is engaged in this what you must understand is, there could not possibly be any visible sign of hope that relief is on its way. If you could see that relief was coming, then there wouldn't be any attention to it is precisely because you see no possible resolution is precisely because you see no possible good outcome that creates this convulsion in your soul saying God what am I to do with this hard hard and I shouldn't say this but I just thank God that I'm in a position to stand in the pulpit and to tell that to somebody who needs to hear. Yeah, it's hard and it's not a lack of faith on your part that finds you in the place of difficulty, of course.
Of course your heart is brought to the breaking point when everything that matters to you is going contrary to what you thought God promised you. Of course that's hard. Scripture gives us perspective gives us help and it so he turns to prayer. Now in verse 47, he appeals to God with his broken heart and he says he says God remember what my span of life is for what vanity you have created all the sons of men. What man can live a Nazi death. Can he deliver his soul from the power she old. It's an appeal of desperate desperation, he is desperately appealing to God to show some mercy in this situation because he's just a dying man of flesh.I can go on like this much longer. This affliction is so heavy. Don't you remember that I'm just a man of flesh it's going to die and go away understand God I'm a mere mortal. I can't stand under the affliction that you have brought to our people that you brought to my life.
I I I don't have the constitution for this.
I wasn't made for this. I wasn't made to endure the brunt of your anger. I don't have have that capacity. It's too much, and so God, he appeals to God. He says God you need to act for the sake of your own character in your own promises. Look at verse 49 is is God. God, the reality of this situation is calling your character into question. Verse 49 where are your former lovingkindness is a Lord which you swore to David and your faithfulness God use more that you would be loyal to David and to his descendents.
You promise to be faithful. You said you would keep your word and you would never break it. Everything about existence says that that is in jeopardy. Now where is it God. I look to the North.
I look to the South. I look to the East.
I looked to the West. I don't find any relief.
I look up. I looked down I looked again. I looked out there's nothing suggesting that you're being faithful to what you said you would be where is it because HUD pointed out to me the date here and the song comes to a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion. You might say in verse 50 because there's no circumstantial change here in the tension in his soul can only spurt up into a simple prayer as he says in verse 50. He ends this lament with a very simple prayer. Verse 50. Remember whole Lord. That's the one request that he makes. After baring his soul like that.
Remember, Lord look upon us call to your own mind, the reproach of your servants, how I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples with which your enemies have reproached the Lord with which they have reproached the footsteps of your anointed, saying God, my only prayer here is that you would remember us that in light of everything he said in the first 37 verses and the magnitude of the affliction that he was responding to his new one request is that God would remember. And in that way, the Psalm has come full circle. He doesn't try to outline for God will exactly what he should do and how we should act the same God. All I ask from you is this. I just ask you to remember everything that you yourself have said and to look on us and see our reproach because I know if you remember you'll do something about it. You haven't really forgotten Lord but I'm asking you to act as though you remembering something that it passed your mind so that you would now intercede and intervene for us and help us and bring relief to the circumstances while I'm alive to see just remember us Lord look on us with favor with that simple but profound prayer. He closes with praise verse 52 I should say the Psalm closes with praise. Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen and amen this praise in verse 52, closes book 3 of the Psalms. It's an appropriate response. It summarizes the sense that this Lord Yahweh. The covenant keeping God their LORD. Verse 52 the covenant keeping God will respond to that prayer, blessed be his name, forever. Amen and amen. Let it be, let it be now let's us just bring a couple of thoughts to bear to close this out beloved, just as a pastoral matter. A pastoral word to help you to discern life when it gets difficult sometimes our experience seems to fall far short of the faithfulness of God. It's our experience, it seems that way in time. Adversity comes affliction comes prayers that seem to be just on the verge of being answered, suddenly go up in smoke shattering hope shattering expectation great loss. No no way of recovering what has been lost in your left with the faithfulness of God and what I see in front of me today. I can't fit those things together. What you have to do as you think through Psalm 89 is this beloved, you have to accept that momentary tension use momentary that temporal tension it might go on for a very long time. It might go on for years. You have to accept that momentary tension that sometimes in this life, the lofty promises of God that we understand the wonder of his character. The wonder of his faithfulness is not necessarily going to be what we experience in time in this life and in those times you learn something really important. The thing that sustains you is, is this is that in those times you can live simply on the promises of God rather than what you see at the time what you see is not a reliable indicator of what's good what you see is not a reliable indicator of what the outcome will be. See you see in the midst of the tension and all you see is darkness around you, you're tempted to rely on your own understanding and conclude that this cannot get better that there is no good outcome here and that's when Proverbs chapter 3 verses five and six kick in says trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Life is, and always giftwrapped.
Sometimes it comes with more thorns than roses and bear with me here for just another moment or two as I just make a point that I know some of you need to hear some of you many of you even though I've heard it with my own ears have just lamented greatly in the midst of your affliction OR loss this or that this circumstance didn't, this relationship didn't work out. Or what about this and this person lied to me and blah blah blah blah blah and and you voiced and articulated this kind of despair that now you're on the other side of now you're in the midst of blessing about it. Beloved, just look back and let the current blessing informed the way that you view those past times of affliction and bring your praise and thanks to God. God I had. I had given up. I had abandoned hope.
I was on the brink of apostasy.
I thought there was no way that you could ever bring good out of that and yet Lord, you did.
Thank you God. You did have mercy on your unworthy servant you did help me through the tension.
It was temporary it was momentary and now I see the fulfillment of the promises here on this end.
Beloved, if you can relate to anything at all about what I'm talking about their you owe it to God to thank him for the present blessings that you are enjoying are about to enjoy when in the past you questioned whether he was even being faithful to your not being on the other side of it now should motivate you all the more to praise and honor and thank him for his goodness because what you are experiencing now. On the other side of that affliction is you are experiencing in firsthand reality in your own life. The fact that God was being faithful to you all along through the darkness. God knew what he was doing God was loving you, God was being faithful he was being good. Even when you thought that he had abandoned you now that you can see it. Look up and thanked him for the fact that he was so good to you all along I really need to stop talking, but I'm not ready to stop talking instead there something else I want to say okay I remember long ago is from a teacher that I would no longer follow or pay any attention to what he said something he said something useful. It's proven to be true that I think is true to experience true to Scripture. More importantly, he said the thing that you would most have God take away from you is the thing that you most want to keep because it is what he will use to bring you closer to himself, your worst trial is ultimately going to be the deceased is ultimately going to be the stage upon which God displaces faithfulness all the more gloriously, and in the darkest hour, God is preparing to show a greater light than you could ever dream in our privilege and our responsibility is to trust him until we see the fulfillment of that and that trust can be as simple as Lord, remember me in the midst of it. Beloved, the lowly position that you experience is not permanent, while you wait. You do not despair because God has promised in Scripture assures us that he who believes in him will not be disappointed. Let's pray together. Father, we sort through these tensions in our mind that we see in Scripture and in our own experience and we just see how how how weak and mortal. We are but you are lofty you are exalted above the heavens. You are good you are faithful and even when the affliction seems great father. You haven't forgotten your promises. And so we appeal to you to remember them in the midst of our times of affliction. Father I pray that you would strengthen those who are in the midst of the affliction now. Perhaps bodily affliction. Perhaps marital affliction. Perhaps other relational conflicts.
The just seem relentless and never to end by would you strengthen perfect, confirm and establish the soles of your servants that they might persevere in and and walk by faith in the midst of it all and help them and show them father your faithfulness and your time. Thank you for the trials which you brought us out of the midst of our present trials.
Father, we thank you for deliverance. We are yet to see but is sure to come. Thank you for that ultimate deliverance when we are glorified in heaven, glorified around the throne of Christ all affliction, all sin, all tears wiped away.
We will know nothing but the fullness of your presence enjoys forever. Jesus. Amen. Will friend thank you for joining us on through the Psalms.
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Thanks, Don and Fran through the Psalms is a weekend ministry of the truth sure to join us next week for our study. As Don continues teaching God's people. God's word and we also invite you to join us on Sunday at 9 AM Eastern for our lives free from truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find the link at the truth. Pulpit.com this message is copyrighted by Don Green. All rights reserved