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Worship in Uncertainty

03.15.20 Nathaniel Wall

  1. Hope for the Restless
    03.29.20 32m 54s
  2. An Attitude of Gratitude
    03.22.20 36m 12s
  3. Worship in Uncertainty
    03.15.20 21m 23s
  4. Fight, Flight, or Faith
    03.01.20 34m 16s
  5. Worship in Hardship
    02.23.20 41m 40s
  6. Finding Your Joy
    02.16.20 34m 05s

Worship in Uncertainty

03.15.20 Nathaniel Wall Revive Series

You know, I think about the significance of today and it fits well with where we’ve been as a church family. We’ve recently started a series together that you can go back and view online, talking about the reviving of our heart. The series is called Revive and we’ve been looking through passages of scripture that encourages our spirit, especially during this time of year when we’re getting out of the winter months, to focus on the Lord and what He wants to do and a renewing within us. His spirit, His strength. And you know, when I think about times like today, this is certainly not a time to panic. It’s a time rather for us, in the midst of trials, in the midst of struggle to let the light of God shine forth through us. Because it’s in the midst of the darkness the truth of God can shine more brightly through his people.

And when I think about the Lord during these times, I realized scripture has all sorts of things to say about times of uncertainty, times of trouble. And one of the places in the Bible that I especially love that I want to share with us together comes from Psalm 62. We’re using this series called Revive to go through passages of scripture in the Psalms to explain to us different scenarios that we face together. Because in life we can learn about the truth of who God is, but then we’ve got to answer how does that relate to where I live? How do we take the truth of God and the life that I live and see those things come together in a wonderful way of worship. And the book of Psalms is a beautiful place to find how to respond in faith to the circumstances around us, no matter what we go through as people.

In fact, what makes the book of Psalm so unique is that while all the other books of the Bible will tell us about who God is, Psalms is man’s response to the Lord. And we look at Psalm 62, this is David writing this psalm. And he’s really answering for us the question, how do we respond when we don’t have complete control? What do we do? How do we worship in uncertain times? And I think for us this morning, the answer is more than buy hand sanitizer and toilet paper, right?

But what does David do in a moment for him when he’s going through uncertain times? What does he do when he doesn’t have complete control? Now certainly there is some control to the life that we lead and God wants us to respond and act based on our circumstances. But we can’t control everything. And I think it’s important for us to know that despite circumstances, it never changes who God calls you to be.

The fruit of the spirit is as true in good times as it is in struggles. That God wants us to walk with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness. In Psalm 62, David shows to us in his own life through this worship expression that he writes here, how we respond in times where we don’t have complete control and in times of uncertainty. In verse three and four is where he starts by recognizing for us the struggle that he’s going through. His struggles a little bit different from us, but it’s still similar in the sense that he doesn’t have complete control.

And the first thing David does, verse three and four is he recognizes before God that life is fragile, but really God is not. Verse three it says this, how long will all of you attack a man to batter him like a leaning wall or a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah. What that word means is David’s pausing and reflecting here in this moment. But David recognizes his state of being that it’s fragile in these moments. That he’s like a leaning wall or a tottering fence because he doesn’t have complete control.

Over these last few days we’ve learned a similar lesson. That a few nights ago, I’m watching a Jazz game. It’s about to tip off. And before I know it, the Jazz are in their locker room and the entire NBA season’s cancelled. And within the matter of hours, you see what can happen to your economy and what could happen even to the health of people. What do you do when you’re on shaky ground?

David acknowledges here as a man of faith, representing the image of God in him that God calls him to live by faith and not by fear. And he begins this Psalm by recognizing that life is fragile, but God is not. Adversity doesn’t change the fact that you’re in Christ and you’re in his hands in hard times if you belong to the Lord.

And while we don’t want to go looking for difficult times, God can certainly redeem the trouble times. In fact, the Bible tells us he redeems all things, that God is sovereign. In Revelation 22:13, it says that he is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end, the first and the last. And it’s telling us that in that God controls all things. That He started it, he ends it, and he has everything in between. Colassians 1:15-17 reminds us of chapter one it says to us that he created all things both spiritual and physical, and he holds all things in his hands. And Romans 8:28 all things work together for good to those who love God.

God uses sobering moments like this to help us consider what matters. Life matters. Human life matters. Eternal life matters. And God cares about people. And we honor and value the life that we have and the life that He gives by the way we choose to act now. God uses moments like this to grow our faith, to help us clarify and simplify what really is important.

You know, when you read the Bible, we like to read miraculous stories, stories of great heroism, stories of great faith. The Bible is full of them. We’re inspired by them, but when it comes to us, what we prefer is boring, safe, and predictable. God can use hard moments to show us something better. Life is fragile, but God is not.

And you think about the stories in scripture that we find so inspiring that in every one of those instances, God could have taken the people or the individual going through a circumstance and simply just plucked them, right out of it. He could have taken the children of Israel as slaves in Egypt and just simply removed them and put them in the promised land. But rather than do that, rather than take them out of the circumstance, God chose to walk with them through it. I think when we consider the Lord in those moments, I like to think that God is not so much interested in the storm, but the heart of the individual that goes to the storm.

How do we worship and respond in uncertain times and times we can’t control? By one, recognizing, open our eyes to the idea that that life is fragile, but God is not.

The second way you see with David in Psalm 62:1-2, this is the way he opens the Psalm.` He tells us to wait on God’s salvation. He says, for God alone, my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be greatly shaken. When you look at these expressions of David, the posture that he carries in the turmoil around him, verse three and four describes the turmoil. Shows life as fragile. But verse one and two what he reflects on is to wait on God’s salvation.

This word waiting is used in verse one it’s used in verse five and then in verse seven he talks about resting. The word wait and the word rest are marks of the gospel in our lives. The word wait really answers the question, do I really trust in the promises that God delivers to his people? Do I truly hold to them or not? Difficult times are the great tester. The idea of resting is also a mark of the gospel. When God created in the beginning, on the seventh day, it tells us that He rests. His peace made known in this world before man sins. And even Jesus when he comes in Matthew 11. What he offers to the world in verse 28 he says to a religious people being oppressed, he says, come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.

See a mark of God’s people, is seen in how well their faith brings them to place of rest in the midst of turmoil. Because while life is fragile, God is not. As a pastor, if we don’t understand the finished work of Christ, I have to say that I fail you. And in John 19:28 and on, Jesus on the cross, he says to us that it is finished. The reason we are able to rest is because the work for our lives has been done by Jesus and Jesus alone. It is finished. He’s paid it in full.

Therefore in him, while life may have turmoil, you are secure. Salvation. That word says God is our rescue. And this is where David’s acknowledging for us in Psalm 62:1-2, where he is ultimately putting his hope. So much so that in verse two he’s showing us this one thought. He says, he alone is my rock and salvation. When you think about King David, you could say before this King of course, David, that you feel this rest and you feel this ability to wait. That you’re behind a fortress made of rock.

And David is saying to us in verse two we would be foolish to assume that David finds his security in a building. That yes, he may be behind a castle wall, or behind a fortress of the city, but that’s not where his true hope is. That God alone is his rock and fortress. David is acknowledging that while these other things may put on this facade, this appearance, that he might be impenetrable that where he really rests is in God.

And here’s the beauty of this thought, that while we may not all live in a castle, we all have access to Christ. And He is our strength and He is our rock and He is our fortress. I think it’s important, don’t be foolish. Wash your hands. Be wise. Work from home, if you can. Honor your government and what they request as long as it doesn’t call you to walk in disobedience to God. Call your doctor if you’re sick. But don’t be so foolish as to assume for a moment that your true rescue doesn’t ultimately lie in Christ.

While David acknowledges that life is fragile, that salvation alone comes from God. The third thing he does in verses five to seven is he reminds his soul to continue to rest in him. Listen to this, verse five my soul wait in silence for God only. For my hope is from Him. It’s like David is having a conversation with himself here. My soul, wait please in silence for God, for my hope is in him. He alone and only is my rock and salvation, my stronghold. I shall not be shaken. Oh God, my salvation and my glory rest the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. David is continuing to remind himself, it is the clarity that comes to the trials that he’s experiencing.

You know, when you read the book of Revelation 2 and 3, the book of Revelation opens up by telling us it’s written to the seven churches. And it clarifies those seven churches in chapter two and three. And what’s interesting about the seven churches is out of the seven churches, only two of them get a positive report. And the two that God gives a positive reports of are the two that are going through persecution.

Trials clarify the importance of what life should be about. Adversity is the refiner of true worship. We look to God, we see where our hope should be rooted in what ultimately sustains. Where is your hope? Sometimes in life we get fooled by the moment and only live the moment. But it’s times like now that cause us to pause and just consider, what’s it all for?

And what David is saying in the Psalm and verse five to seven is not only does he give this declaration at the very beginning of where his hope lies, but he wants to continue to repeat this truth to his soul, lest he gets lost in the chaos of life.

And then verse eight and 10 he reminds us of the fourth thing he says, invite others to faith and not fear. So these opportunities that we go through together, sometimes God might be the last thing that we think about when we face adversity. And what David wants us to recognize in verses eight to 10, I’ll read it in just a moment. What he’s saying is don’t allow your eyes to look past the opportunity and the hope that you have to point other people to that ultimate hope. He says in verse eight, trust in him at all times, oh people. So you see in this these words that David has now turned his attention for more than just himself, but he’s now looking beyond and he’s declaring to the people trust in Him at all times, oh people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us. Selah. Again, he rests here.

Sometimes we get so fixated on circumstances we miss the ultimate opportunity that we have to invite others to the hope that they can have in Christ. The common man lives for the moment. But hardship and adversity opens the door for us to look for more. Hardship is a means to invite to a greater hope and a more meaningful worship.

You know, it’s in hard times that we can change for better or worse. And you’re going to see this in verse nine and 10. But what tends to happen in life when we have hope on ourselves as is all of a sudden when we don’t feel in control, we stress out. Or we even use anger as a defense to fight to get things our way. Or sometimes we don’t feel like we can carry it all on our shoulders so we go into a place of despair. But what David is showing us, rather than us being in control, God has control of all things.

Consider this for a moment. God knows. He knows right where you are. God is not surprised by anything in your life. He knows where you are. He cares about you and He cares about your circumstance. God’s interest in life is in your heart. God’s interested in you. That’s why Jesus came. I think of all the truths that people might propagate in this world or truth claims that they might have. But where else could you find a God becoming flesh, extending such gracious love toward you. Trust in him at all times, oh people.

Because on the back end of that, what we tend to do in trusting in ourselves, is to act in stress or anger or despair. And you start to see this in verse nine and 10 where people put their hope. He says those of lowest state are but a breath. And those of highest state are a delusion in the things that they’re trusting. And he says in the balances, they go up, they are together, lighter than a breath. Put no trust in extortion. Set no vain hopes on robbery. If riches increase, set not your heart on them.

So he’s saying crazy times, people act in crazy ways. And those that are of lowest state, but breath. And those in highest state a delusion, they go up in the balances. And what David’s picturing here is scales. And he’s saying we weigh scales on certain things in life. But these things that David is describing in this verse, he’s saying, look, they don’t even register on the weight. They just float away. In comparison to God, it’s not even worth measuring. That this is where your hope should be.

And the fifth point that David does, in verse 11 and 12 how do we worship in times of uncertainty? In times where we don’t have control? He says this, he reminds us to know the Lord brings power and love to his people. The Lord brings power and love to his people. Verse 11 look, once God has spoken. Twice, have I heard this. The power belongs to God and that to you, Oh Lord belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.

What the poem is saying here through David is God says this, it’s been declared and this resonates with me over and over. That God’s power and love He makes known and He will render to us according to our work. What David is reminding us the reason that we can be secure are those two words. Power and love. The power of God to fulfill his promises. And the love of God for his people. God needs both of those things.

His power, it gives them the opportunity to execute judgment. That God is righteous. God has just. God is sovereign over everything. But at the same time He’s love. You need both. And God is perfect because He has both. He is love and He is just. If you had the power of God without the love of God, just the power alone makes God a tyrant. But if you have the love of God, without the power of God, the love of God just becomes flattery with no ability to execute. But the power in love, the power in love is what makes him so incredible because when you’re with him, he fights for you.

God has both in this verse, where David finds himself resting in these moments in worship. In moments he can’t control. He steps out of the delusion of realizing he’s never been in control. Yes, certain things he can do, but ultimately all things rest in God. And in this God he looks toward there is both power and love.

Just because we’re temporarily not meeting as a church, it doesn’t stop us from being the church. Because God’s with us wherever we go. And our Sunday gathering is a little more than an hour out of your week, but you get to be the church throughout the entire week. Look for opportunity to be wise, to live by faith.

And kids may miss school and they may miss meals. There’s opportunity. Your neighbor may run out of toilet paper or may even need a little extra to pay the bills at the end of the month because they’re not in work right now. Maybe you can simply call and encourage each other.

People are looking for life to mean more, to bring that life to them in Christ is our calling in Jesus. I think it’s important for us to both wash our hands and point to Christ in these circumstance. Don’t forget to preach the Lord’s message of hope to yourselves as David did and to others. Castles and fortresses are a facade, but the Lord endorsed forever and power in love rest and wait in Him.

And today a virus has reached our shores. We don’t know how difficult it’s going to be with our economy and our health, but we know God is calling us to continue forward and loving our neighbor. And striving for the glory of his kingdom. And if you have Jesus, you will not lose.