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I’m going to invite you to Psalm 73. Psalm chapter 73 is where we are together. We’re spending the month of July going through the book of Psalms. Psalms is a wonderful book of the Bible. All the books of the Bible are wonderful books of the Bible. This is God communicating to us the truths that we need to know and how to live it out. That’s Scripture is this beautiful story of redemption and how God has has written for us his story of redemption, that we may know him and enjoy him all the days of our life. The Christian Walk is all about relationship, and that is our heart’s desire for you that you would know God and through that glorify God with your life. And because of that, others will be blessed. One of the things that makes the Book of Psalms unique from all the other books of the Bible, when you read the other books of the Bible, you’ll note most of them are generalized by God communicating to us. The book of Psalms is the opposite of that. It’s man’s response back to God. It teaches us really how to worship in adversity. You know, sometimes you if you come from a religious setting, you’ll find oftentimes in religion it’s sharing a lot of a lot of laws, a lot of rules and what they might call truth. They’re sharing just this system of of knowledge or ideas. And and that tends to be how religion thinks.
And and in our in our culture today, what we tend to promote within American culture is humanism. That the highest ideal that you can appeal to is found within you. It’s all about you. Just just follow whatever your heart says. What are your feelings telling you? And just pursue that with your life. Whatever you want is what’s best. And the book of Psalms is neither of those things. But but it does have certainly theology. It’s undergirded in theology. And it’s not just this idea of being driven by emotion, but rather it’s meeting us in the turmoil of life and helping us figure out how to engage God in the truth of understanding who he is. Right. It’s this idea of theology and where we’re at and how those worlds collide and teaching us to engage God in that. How do we how do we worship? How do we respond to the Lord? And in Psalm 73, we’re meeting this psalmist named Asaph, who is a director of music during King David’s Day, and he is teaching us how to engage the Lord, especially when we have some unhealthy thinking. In fact, what He’s going to show us is how to discover the strength of the Lord when when life is challenging us, when when our soul seems like it’s embattled and embittered toward the circumstances we’re facing and we’re confused and and spiraling down in adversity.
And we start to, in those moments, have some unhealthy thinking. How do we discover the strength of the Lord in those moments when we want to when we want to worship the Lord or even to to to meet God where we’re at, if God is even real. I mean, I think the psalmist gets to that place where he’s questioning everything because of of what he’s enduring. How do you discover the strength of the Lord in the adversity of life? And we’re going to go through Psalms 73 to talk about this together. I want you to know this psalm is a little bit longer, so I’m not going to be able to go through every verse, but I’m going to hit the highlights and and let you see the the big idea the psalmist shares as it relates to the context of scripture. So I’ll tell you what the the context is saying that we’re that we’re discussing as we fly through this this Psalm. But we’re going to identify four points in discovering the strength of the Lord. And point number one in your notes, is this an unhealthy belief is destructive to the soul, but God welcomes our struggling faith. Let me say it one more time, because I know this is the longest point in your notes. An unhealthy belief is destructive to the soul, but God welcomes our struggling faith. I would say that’s the reason the Lord has come to this world is because we struggle, right? We we don’t have the strength within ourselves to to give us eternal life or or to reconcile our destroyed relationship with God because of sin.
That’s that’s separated us from him. And so it’s God who’s pursued us and his truth to share the truth into our lives that we may may know him and embrace him and find freedom in him. And so God welcomes us in. And the the struggle of of our faith. And I love the way that Jesus talks about it in the Gospels. He tells us it’s the faith of a mustard seed that moves mountains, meaning that when you think about the idea of a mustard seed, it’s very tiny. But but it’s not about the size of your faith, but the greatness of your God that makes the difference. You can have all the faith in the world, but if what you believe in isn’t true, and no matter how great you think your faith is, it’s not going to save you at the end of the day, it won’t rescue your life. It’s not going to direct you. It’ll lead you to a path of destruction. But if what little faith you have, you can put it into a great God who’s true, who’s righteous, who’s good, who’s just who’s merciful, gracious, compassionate towards you. That makes all the difference in the world. And God meets us where we are.
Unhealthy belief leads to destruction, but God welcomes our struggling faith. In fact, you see this play out in the lives of the disciples, both in the beginning of the Gospel of John and the end of the Gospel of John and John. Chapter one, verse 46. When Jesus is first pursuing his disciples, one of the disciples comes to another disciple named Nathaniel. And He and he tells them, We’ve seen the Messiah. And Nathaniel asks this brave question. I think at the moment, he says, when they’re telling the Messiah has come, he says, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Right? And, you know, I’ve always likened that question, I think wrongfully to if we put it in our context today, it would be like me asking, Can anything good really come out of dushane, right? Or or to Willa or one of those country towns that’s you. That used to be how I think about this passage that when Nathaniel asked that question, can anything good come out of Nazareth? Right? I mean, Dushane, people can’t even pronounce their own town, right? It’s obviously duchesnei, right? It’s not even Dushane. I mean, can anything good come out of Dushane? I’m just kidding you from from Dushane. We we just left camp there. That’s the only reason I brought it up. It’s beautiful, Right? But but but Nathaniel is not I don’t think he’s asking that question because he doesn’t believe that good people can live in the town of Nazareth.
I think he’s genuinely asking the question because what he’s learned about the Messiah is the Messiah is supposed to come from Bethlehem, and he’s trying to figure out how in the world can the Messiah come from this area when what I’ve known about the Messiah isn’t that. And so Nathaniel is asking this this genuine question in order to discover the truth. You know, sometimes you may have come from a background where where in your faith or whatever tradition you grew up in, where you might have had questions and people have taught you, well, you shouldn’t ask that because it’s it’s showing that you might be lacking some faith. And so it’s bad to ask questions. And I’ll tell you, when it comes to Christianity, that’s exactly what we want to welcome here. You learn when you’re hungry. And and so as you encounter a walk with Lord or as you desire a walk with the Lord, I think one of the best things that you can do is ask questions, even if it comes from a place of doubt. When you get to the end of the Gospel of John, what you find in the life of Thomas, I mean, Thomas has been forever labeled the doubter. How would you how would you like that for history? The doubting Thomas. Right. And you know how that goes. And John chapter 20 and verse 26 to 28, they come and tell Thomas, Thomas, We’ve seen Jesus resurrect.
And he’s like, Yeah, right. Unless I put my finger in those nail holes and in that side that was pierced. I’m not believing it. And eight days later, Jesus shows up and he says, Hey, Thomas, come here. Let me see your finger. Right. And and. And Thomas puts his finger in those places and or at least it gives hint to that’s what takes place. And Thomas in that moment gives goes from this place of doubting to the greatest confession I think in the gospels. And John 20 verse 28, he says, My Lord and my God. In Psalm 73. And the reason I bring all this up is because the psalmist in Psalm 73 has some similar questions and concerns, and maybe we could even say doubts in his walk with the Lord. And in Psalm 73, he says it like this Truly, God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. So he’s acknowledging the goodness of God. But then he says, But as for me, my feet have almost stumbled. My steps have have nearly slipped. When he’s talking about this idea of stumbling, some translations say foothold. And what he’s saying is, I thought I was walking on secure ground. But what I’ve discovered is the ground that I’m on is starting to feel a little bit shaky. In fact, losing your foothold could even be deadly.
It can be destructive if you think you’re walking on a trail along the mountain and all of a sudden you lose your foothold, what are you going to grab a hold of? You can fall to your death. And this is this could be a dangerous and precarious place for him to be. And this is what he’s describing in this passage, this this struggle in his life of of where this could take him. But but can I encourage you? When it comes to the concerns or questions that you have, you have a God big enough to handle it. When it comes to your faith, you should ask questions. When you have doubts, you should go to the Lord. It’s better to start with doubt and end in certainty than to start in certainty and end in doubt. People that are overly confident in a faith but haven’t really tested it. When life starts to become a struggle in those moments, you feel like you’re slipping and you’re looking for something to grab a hold of because you’ve just taken things for granted and you haven’t really pressed into your faith to find out how secure is this and can I really rely on this when when life becomes adverse? And this is where the the psalmist is finding himself. In fact, he goes on in verse three and he starts to reveal a little bit more of his struggle.
Why? Why he’s seeing the goodness of God to Israel, but why all of a sudden he’s finding that his own feet stumbling in these moments. He sees God to those people and God seems good to those people. But to but to Him, He he struggles and he looks in verse three and he says, For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. So he’s looking at his own life and he’s saying, Here I am facing these challenges. But I look at these other people who don’t even acknowledge God, and yet their life seems easy. And can I tell you, one of the primary ways or reasons I think people walk away from the faith today. Is because of adversity. It’s because of bad things. People are faced with the challenge of how can a good God exist when bad things happen in this world? And their conclusion is either God doesn’t exist or God is not good. And I think the psalmist is on the precipice of this moment where he’s looking at his life and he’s he’s starting to falter because he’s saying, look, I’ve been following God all of my life, but things aren’t going my way. And yet I look at people in the world and they’re wicked people. And yet I’m very envious of what they have because they seem to be living in a life of prosperity. And let me just throw out just a few thoughts to consider, because all of us have to deal with this challenge of evil in this in this world.
And I’ve encountered some people who have told me I see bad things in this world, but if God is good and there’s bad things and then there’s there’s likely not God, or at least not a good God, therefore I deny it all. And then I move on and they act like that’s answered the question of what you do with evil. And their conclusion is, well, God just doesn’t exist. And they kind of put a bow tie on it and move on. But, but can I just tell you, if you come to the conclusion because there is evil, there is no God, you still have to deal with the idea of evil. It doesn’t answer the question why in the world is there evil then, if there is no God, what are you going to do about that? The whole reason they’ve come to this tension they’re asking this question is because there’s evil. And so simply to deny God doesn’t mean that evil just goes away. Everyone has to deal with the question of evil. And here’s the worst part of that kind of thinking that because evil exists, there must not be a God or he isn’t a good God if that is true. Not only have you not answered the question of what are you going to do with evil, you’ve also just declared evil the victorious winner of life.
Evil triumphs over everything. If there’s not a God who is just. Who rules over it all, evil wins in the end. Bad things win in the end because there’s there’s nothing to reconcile all the brokenness of this world. And so just to try to come to the conclusion that there must not be God, I would say we should likely challenge the question because in your life, we should we should consider why do you need good to to win to begin with? Why does good even matter? Because if there is no God, then then really life is meaningless and purposelessness to it and full of purposelessness. And. And so why would you demand that there be good over evil? Why does that injustice stir within you? What put that there? Why does it matter? And why do you go to the movies and want to see? Justice over, over evil. Why do you want to see the good guy win? The argument from a theological perspective, from philosophers has been because God has written that in our DNA, the reason we have this desire for good is because God has put that good within us. That’s the very reason. C.s Lewis argues, that God existed or what brought him to the Lord is because in his life he noticed this, this disdain for things that were wrong, things that were unjust things, things that were evil.
And he had this yearning for to taste the good things of life and to experience justice and and all the the greatness that life had to offer. And he said to himself, Well, how in the world is this possible? Lest there be a creator who has written that in me. And not to mention the idea of good. When people look at God and say, you know, I’m going through difficult things, therefore there isn’t a God or a God isn’t good. I think we also assume that that we’re owed something from God. And I would just argue, who told you God owed you? Good. I mean, prove it. I’m not I’m not against it. But sometimes we just simply assume that, well, we’re just owed this. And where does that come from and why would you demand it and accuse God if you don’t have it? Does God, God really owe you that good? And and this is where the psalmist is dealing with this. And he says about his own life that he’s envious of the arrogant because he sees the luxury that they have and he desires it. And because of that, he’s really blinded by by his envy. Envy is the enemy of joy, and contentment is envy is it drains you from from energy of living out who God has called you to be because it exhausts your life on trying to be who others God has permitted to be or allowed to be.
Envy stops you from living your life well, because rather than tilling the ground of your own world, you try to be like someone else and you end up cynical and miserable. But here’s the reality. God didn’t create you to be like other people. God created you for his own purposes. And trying to make you like someone else can completely miss the very purpose for which God has designed you. And in this case, the the Psalmist has been blinded by his own envy and attempting to be like other people and to take what they have rather than look to the Lord and what God has created Him to be. So point number one, an unhealthy belief is destructive to your soul. But God welcomes our struggling faith. It’s okay to come to the Lord and and. Question In fact, point number two is this challenge your unhealthy thinking? Challenge your unhealthy thinking. And this is exactly what the psalmist is doing in writing this psalm. He’s telling us everywhere he’s been in the struggle of life because of this envy and the challenge of adversity that he’s faced. And he goes on in verse 14 or excuse me, verse four, all the way down to verse 16, and he talks about that battle. He’s saying, as I looked at these arrogant people that were wicked that I was envious of, Here’s all the things that I saw.
They weren’t even concerned about God. They they had all this luxury in life. They were treating other people with ill will and and not honoring the image of God in them. But yet life seemed fine for them. And I became envious of that. And and so he goes through this struggle and then he says in verse 13, he he starts to reveal to us why he struggled. He says, all in vain, Have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. All in vain. I’ve kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. And in this, he’s really telling us what led him to worship the Lord. Why did you pursue God to begin with? All in vain. He’s doing this. And what he’s saying is he never really pursued God for God. That truthfully, the reason he went after the Lord is because he didn’t want God himself, but rather he wanted what He thought God would have to owe him. He thought in pursuing God that he would actually get the life that the that the wicked and arrogant had. He wanted easy street. He wanted all the wealth and he wanted luxury. And he wanted a life just to be a breeze for him. And so he thought to himself, you know, if I just pursued God, I would get those things that I want. And he started pursuing God and in vain, he found out he did those things to get from God, but he wasn’t focusing on the Lord himself, but rather what God could give to Him in essence, rather than rather than use His life to serve God.
He wanted God to serve him. And so when he started to see the results of what it was producing and he was looking at the people of this world, he thought, man, they seem to have exactly what I want, which is a lot easier. Life and all this fame, popularity and wealth. And so I’m not getting from God what I desire. And and so this is what brought him to the place of questioning and and in this psalm. And he’s challenging that thinking. He’s challenging his his pursuit of of understanding and who God is. And then he says this in verse 15 and 16. He says, If I had said I will speak, thus, I would have betrayed the generation of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task. So he’s saying in this passage, when he’s thinking about this generation, he’s saying his his his life became so toxic that if he began to proclaim what his heart was turning toward, it would have been unhealthy for everyone else around him, that what he would have shared would have been not just toxic for his own soul, but toxic for everybody because it was leading him to a path of destruction.
It would have led others to a path of destruction. It would have betrayed his people and everything that God had had done for them. And so he was he was walking in this precarious place and and realizing there’s this knowledge that he had of God and what he saw that the Lord would do in his people, but where his own heart was was distant from that. And if he ever opened his mouth, it was just going to lead God’s people down to a path of destruction. And he himself is a leader in Israel. And then he goes on in verse 16. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task. When he was only looking within himself. And his pursuit in this world was about what he could get as the center of the universe and and all that he desired, and trying to understand why bad things were happening as he pursued the vain things of this world. It was overwhelming. And he couldn’t figure it out. God, it’s too much. It’s wearisome, he says, in this passage. You ever been in that place in life? Where? Enough bad things have happened in a in a row that you turn to God and you start to ask the question, Lord, why? And you don’t understand. And you want some answers to help you understand.
But the more you look at it, the more difficult the situation seems. And you just worn out. And you’ve met the end of you and you don’t even know what else you can do. God, Why did this happen? Why does it look like their lives are so much better than what I have? And yet I feel like I’m doing everything right? Why is this hard? God. Where are you? God, are you even real? And if you’re real, are you even good? The psalmist has spent so much time leveraging God for his purpose to serve him for for his own personal glory. And he gets to the end of this place and he is just tired. Never been there. A psalmist in this passage is teaching us to to challenge our thinking. So that point number three, then we really get to the end of ourselves. And this is what he’s sharing with us. This idea to get a new vantage point through grace and truth. Point number three in your notes, get a new vantage point through grace and truth. So he says, But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task. And look at this until. Until I went into the sanctuary of God. Then I discerned their end. I love the way he phrases this. He doesn’t just say until I went to church or I went to the sanctuary. He’s acknowledging who’s who he’s he’s pursuing in this moment.
It’s not just about him anymore. He’s done. He’s worn out. In this passage, he goes into the sanctuary of God rather than thinking about God, rather than just simply trying to use God. He now wants to to deal with the Lord. And and God’s going to put some of this into perspective. What he was in vanity pursuing in the arrogant and the wicked. He’s starting to see from the vantage point of the Lord what that path really leads to. He’s built up in his mind how easy life would be. But now he’s starting to get the perspective. Does it really lead to that conclusion? He sees the end of that, but the reason he starts to see the end of that is because he begins with the Lord himself. God help me to see things from from your eyes as I approach you into your sanctuary. And let me just pose the question for us today, like how if we’re going through a difficult situation and we want to discover the strength of God in our life as the psalmist is working through in this passage, how do we enter into that sanctuary to begin that journey? What does that look for us like for us in the passage of Scripture? I told you, I think last week or sometime recently, the building that we worship in, I mean, it’s just a building, right? There’s nothing special about the location.
The New Testament declares that to us. It’s not about a facility, though. Facilities have an important place. It provides a place for God’s people to gather. That’s not what makes the sanctuary in the New Testament. The Bible tells us that you’ve actually become the sanctuary. And the reason you’ve become the sanctuary is because of what Jesus has done. Who is the ultimate place of of getting to know God. If you want to know the Lord, look at Jesus. In fact, over and over in Scripture, it tells us that I know some people show up to church and they think they’re a Christian because you show up to church. Can I can I just tell you, you’re not a Christian because you show up to church. You’re not a Christian because you do good things. That’s not what makes you a Christian. What makes you a Christian is Jesus. And your life surrendered to him and what he’s done for you. You can show up to church your entire life and be completely lost. Right. But but but what we find in the idea of the sanctuary and the Old Testament, if they wanted to get near to God, they would go to the temple or the tabernacle, because that’s where God’s presence was, was to dwell. And so if you wanted to get near to God, that’s where you went. But when you get to the New Testament, what you discover is God’s presence comes among us physically.
And John 114 it says this and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen his glory. That idea of dwelt in the New Testament is the word tabernacled same word in the Old Testament for God’s presence. Dwell Jesus tabernacled among us saying If you want to be near the presence of God, come to Jesus and Colossians. 115 He’s the image of the invisible God. Hebrews one three. He is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature. And so what the Psalmist is starting to say to us is, look, he was going to this place of struggle in his life. He couldn’t understand why bad things were happening to him if he was doing all the right things. Is God good or is there even a God? He was wrestling with this in his life until. Until he stopped using God as a tool. And he just sought the goodness of who God was. God. Let me know you. Are you good? Are you God? And then he says this in verse 21. He goes on and says, When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in my heart. I was brutish and ignorant. I was like a beast. Toward you. What you’re saying is. God, my heart was completely just angry towards you. Embittered. It was vicious, right? I was. I was a beast.
And you pricked my heart in this. And I started to I started to realize what was happening, that I had become so self consumed that the focus of life was all about me. And because it was all about me, I became like a wild animal just trying to dominate the animal kingdom. And you think about how the way the animals operate, right? My might rules the day. It’s the it’s the survival of the fittest. And and it’s about me usurping my authority over you. I was just like an animal. And. And when human beings live life that way, what what it entails is a life of destruction. Because you start to see people just simply as tools to get what you want. You’ll even treat God that way. I was nothing more than an animal because I just leveraged the strength that you gave me to serve me for my glory. And because of that, it was it was destructive to everything around me because life was all about me. Our culture today. Our culture today is, is I think the religion of our day is is humanism. In 30 years ago, they would they would say if you asked theologians what was the what was the belief of America, they referred to it as therapeutic, moral deism, therapeutic moral deism, meaning we want it to be good in order to feel better. And we believed in a God, but he was kind of distant.
We had this therapeutic moral deism. We we sort of did nice things because it made us feel good. And there was this God somewhere out there. But without that personal relationship, humanity’s continue to decline. And I would say the the religion of today is, is not even therapeutic. Moral deism. We’re further from that now. It’s humanism, meaning what we desire in life is whatever we want because we’re the center of the universe. And so whatever makes me happy, that’s what I do today. Rather than surrender my life to God for His will, I surrender my life to me for my will. And if I ask you today, do you think culture is getting better? How is that working out for us? It’s exactly what the psalmist is saying When we slip down that slope of getting further and further from God, what we start to do is elevate ourselves more and more and make it about us. And when we make it about us, we don’t use our strength for His glory. We use our strength for our glory. And when we do that, what we what we do is destroy the world around us. We treat people like tools to leverage what we want in this world. And the psalmist is saying in verse 17, I’ve discerned the end of that. I know where it leads. And then the psalmist discovers this in verse 23, as as he’s been fighting against God, as he’s been acting like this beast in verse 23, Well, maybe not.
I don’t have verse 23. Oh, there it is. Nevertheless, I am continually with you. You hold my right hand. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, God. But here’s the reason why. It’s not because of me. It’s because you haven’t given up on me. God. You hold my right hand. When Asef looks at God. He finds God is not the one who’s fighting against him. But rather God is the one who’s fighting for him. And it’s humbling. You may face adversity in this life, but what what life is learning? You never face it without God. Yes, there’s there’s trouble in this world. But God promises his people that he is with us through through all of it. You may face adversity and you might have to ask the question, God, where are you in all of this? Or how do I how do I work through the adversity with what I’m going through in this world? Lord, how do I how do I deal with this? But, but what? The psalmist is learning that the answer can never be you’re doing it apart from God. In fact, in Psalm 34 and verse 18, it says, God is near the broken hearted. God is for the broken hearted. And the way that we learn this is is through Jesus’s own life. In our hour of need and our greatest of need.
God doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t look at us in our sinfulness and say, You know what? Forget you guys. But rather he enters in our suffering. He becomes like, we are in Isaiah 53. It tells us he’s a he’s a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. So whatever you go through in this life, the answer can’t be. And God doesn’t care. Because what we see in the very nature of Jesus is God cares and God meets us in our brokenness and our hour of need. And He helps us. He promises life. He promises his presence. He promises to walk through us. He’s got compassion for us. He even gave his life for us that we could find freedom in him. And one of the beautiful things about the Lord is. And God uses hardship. As the tool that draws us to him. I could tell you if my life had gone easy. I probably would not know him. But if I go back and look over my life and if I’m being honest with you, it’s when I met the adversity of life that I sought after God. The while may not like the challenges that I go through. It is those challenges when I think about the growth of my own spiritual journey that led me to to the Lord, to to know Him and, and to walk with him. C.s Lewis says says it like this God whispers to us in our pleasures.
He speaks to us in our consciousness and He shouts to us in our pain. The psalmist couldn’t figure out all the answers to the adversity he was facing in life. But what he’s discovering is the one he is facing it with. Can I tell you one of the books of the Bible that when I first became a Christian, used to drive me crazy? Book of job. I hated the Book of job. I come to job and here’s a guy going through difficult things in life, and he was a godly guy going through difficult things. And you read that book and you think this is a longer book. There’s over 40 chapters in Job. You’re like, All right, I’m going to get to the end. I’m going to get a conclusion of why bad things happen to to good people and where is God in our suffering? And you know what you get when you get to the Book of Job? You get none of those answers. None of those questions get answered. I remember first I read through the Book of Job expecting to find those answers. I read the challenges of his life and I got to the end and I’m like, wait a minute, did I am I too stupid? Did I not get this? I get the none of my questions got answered. Just this uncertainty. And you kind of walk away from that thinking, all right, well, maybe it’s just me.
Maybe if I just hang around this Christian group long enough, I’ll start to discover there’s an answer. I just didn’t see it. I accidentally skimmed that chapter. Right. But, boy, you find out after you read it a few times, you start to realize, no, God never gave him an answer at all. God never talked about why Jobe went through, through what he went through. All that Jobe got was the greatness of God. At the end of the Book of Job. What job discovers isn’t to the the particular answers to what why those things happen to him. What he what he found at the end of the book is how great God is. But having spent time in the Lord now, can I just suggest to you. That that answer is actually better. It’s not it’s not always helpful to necessarily know the answers as to every reason why. Part of the reason is because for us, understanding all the reasons why can be overwhelming. In fact, that was God’s point to Jobe at the end of the book. Jobe, did you create all this? Did you make all this? Do you even understand how this exists? If you can’t even understand that, how can I even begin to explain to you all the details of everything that can happen in your life? Could you imagine if God revealed to you everything about your life and why the things worked out the way that they did and what his ultimate plan was? Just to have that kind of information would be overwhelming.
And just because you have that information doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got the the strength of the ability to work through it. You just have the information. And yet you discover that ultimately in the end, you’re still powerless. You need something more. What if you understood? It all the understanding why. I would suggest it’s not as helpful. As the hand of this. Good God, who is with you? And to be to be completely transparent. I don’t know if I really want to know all the answers to everything. To me, that sounds stressful. I would rather know the hand of the one who. Who will lead me through it. And that is good. And I can trust him. Uh, there’s this. This. I don’t know if it’s popular today or not, but I’ve heard this talked about more frequently. This idea of decision fatigue. Ever heard of that decision fatigue? I can tell you, as a pastor, there are some days where I go home and I feel like my brain ran a marathon and I get to the end of the day, I’m thinking I probably got decision fatigue, right? Like I, I love what I do because everything, every day is different. And so you get to experience how God works in different facets of people’s life, and it brings you to different areas of life that you might be dealing with things.
And that’s all great, wonderful to experience. But there are some times in life where you get to the end of the day and you’re like, I just I just don’t want to answer another question, right? And sometimes it’s funny that because you’re a pastor, people just assume, you know, answers to just random things. And so they ask you a question just because you’re a pastor that you might know the answer to two things that have nothing to do with ministry. It’s like you’re a pastor, so you should know how to change oil in a car or I don’t know what it is. Just random questions. And this is I don’t know the answer to that. That’s not me. That’s not my cup of tea. That’s not what I do. Just to know those answers. This this past week we were up at kids camp and I wasn’t in charge of kids camp, Teen Camp. I haven’t been in charge of teen camp for years. I run the middle school camp. But we combine those camps today and the last couple of years we’ve combined those camps and our youth. Pastor Lincoln’s in charge of teen camp. Can I tell you one of my favorite things about this week to say people would come to me and ask questions, I’d be I would say this.
I don’t know. I’m not in charge. Go ask Lincoln. It was so great. It was my as the one thing I look forward to, I would walk through the day and be like, Please, someone ask me a question, right? Because just be able to get that kind of answer. Just it’s so relieving. But, but can you think about the Lord in that context? To know all the answers is so much more responsibility. It’s stressful. And you don’t even have the power to handle it. But if you know the one who does. And, you know, he’s good. And compassionate. A merciful and gracious. And you’ve entered into a sanctuary and you’ve seen him face to face and you’ve grown and your trust and the goodness of who he is. You see a God who’s pursued you. He’s given his his life for you. Who is for you and not against you. Who’s going to work all things together for good? To those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Suddenly you began to realize. God, I don’t have to know the answers. That’s what Jobe discovered. God, this is hard. But I don’t have to know the answers. And here’s the reason why. Because you love me. And you’re forming. And you’re going to walk with me in this. It’s not about finding your strength, but discovering his strength. That’s what makes the Psalms so beautiful.
As in the beginning, you’re seeing the psalmist trusting in himself, and he gets to verse 16. He says, This is wearisome. This is so wearisome, and I don’t even understand. But then all of a sudden, he goes into the sanctuary and he starts to see not not God for what he wants, but God for who he is. And as he sees God for who He is, he says to himself, And God has been holding my hand through this all along. This God is for me and this God loves me. And I don’t have to know the answer to everything. I just need to know the one who does. And that is far greater. Underneath I can do in myself. And so point number four then, is this Reorder your love. Reorder your love. Psalmist goes on and says this whom I have I in heaven but you. And there is nothing on earth that I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fail. But look at this. But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. He is good. And he is with us. How in and of myself, there’s nothing there that can ultimately fulfill what I desire. But God, my Creator, He knows what I need and He is my portion forever. He goes on and says, But for me it is good to be near God. It’s about the Lord.
I have made the Lord my refuge that I might tell of all your works in the very end. Here, He acknowledges a couple of things. God is my refuge. So he’s saying, when this world feels like it’s falling apart, I know the first place I need to go. I know where I need to run because all other things will pass away. But the thing that will always endure is God. And God has promised that I can hide in Him. I may not know how he’s working these things out, but I know he’s good and he promises he will work these things out. So it’s important for me, rather than figure out the things of this world just to know him. The more confident I am in his character, the more secure I am and everything this world will will bring towards me, knowing that God, God will work it all out. And He refers to him as Lord God, which means covenant promise keeping God. The Lord God. He’s the one who fulfills what he promises to me. So let me close with this. There was a famous story by John Wesley. He went and preached in Europe and he left his brother Charles in America. And he went and preached in Europe. And he came back to to America. And his brother asked him, Brother Charles and John Wesley founded Methodist Church. And his brother asked him, he said, how many souls were added to to God’s family When you were over there preaching? How many how many souls came to know Christ? And John Wesley said, none.
But there were some glorious subtractions. And what he was saying he’s saying is, look, it’s important for people come to know the Lord. But but sometimes there is such toxicity that in order for people to move forward, you’ve got to take a step back. And John Wesley was saying when he went to church and he preached, he didn’t necessarily know if anyone came to know Jesus, but he came to see that there were people that hated them and hated him. And it was that toxicity was preventing the body of Christ from moving forward. And and I share that with you this morning to say in our lives, there are things that are toxic that that hurt our soul from trusting in the goodness of who God is and being able to move forward, that it becomes important for us rather than use God like a tool or to become envious of things in this world, just to look at the goodness of God, to cut those things out and look at the goodness of who God is. Marie Durand was a lady at the age of 19. She was a believer in France in the early 1700s, and in 1730 she was thrown into a dungeon, a dungeon because of her faith in Christ. And she was told, if you do not recant, you will stay here forever.
She was in that dungeon for 38 years. 38 years. She sat in that dungeon. It wasn’t until she was in her later 50s that she was she was freed. And the only reason was she was freed is not because she recanted. It was because people got tired of keeping her in the dungeon. She just they knew she wasn’t going to change. And and on her cell wall, she just wrote this word. Resistor. Resist her. This word became a reminder to her of all the temptation that the world had to offer. But to know there was this good God who was for her. And if Jesus was willing to die for her, she was willing to give her life for him. Her focus was on necessarily figuring out all the circumstances of life, but to keep her heart pure and the goodness of who God was. Because when she entered into the preciousness of Christ, yes, she may not have understood everything around her, but she knew her God and her God loved her and her God was for her. Guys, can I encourage you today, if you’re going through difficult things in life, the greatest resource that we have is not finding strength within us, but rather finding the strength of the Lord to know who he truly is and allow our hearts completely to depend on Him. God welcomes your questions, your doubts, your concerns, because the Lord knows the truth of who He is as what brings his strength into your life.